I flipped over Fontaines D.C. debut release, Dogrel, released back in April of 2019. Their sophomore album, A Hero’s Death has arrived and while it’s different from Dogrel, why would it be the same?, it’s intense, a bit slower, somber, and oh-so-deep.
Let me pretend to be a music critic for a moment: “Fontaines D.C. A Hero’s Death is no Dogrel.”
And they say this like it’s a bad thing. The thing about a debut album is it’s new. It’s fresh. The thing about a 2nd album is it comes after the first so some people judge it against the first — instead of just listening to the new one and allowing it to add to one’s understanding, and ideally appreciation, of the band. If you take this latter approach with A Hero’s Death, you’ll find that Fontaines D.C. have a lot more to say in many more ways.
Released by Partisan Records on July 31, 2020, A Hero’s Death is a reflection “on the modern world, and its great uncertainty.” The band — Grian Chatten (vocals), Conor Deegan III (bass), Conor Curley (guitar), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), and Tom Coll (drums) — stretch out and slow things down, creating mood pieces dripping with despair which grows like weeds around, well, everything. To my ears, the A Hero’s Death also further supports the notion that this is one-hell-of-a-band proper, with each part perfectly knit making a greater more powerful whole. Lovely.
From album closer “No”:
There’s no living to a life
Where all your fears are running rife
And you’re mugged by your belief
That you owe it all to grief
Even when you don’t know
Even when you don’t
You feel, you feel
Of course in the doing, the act of music-making, Fontaines D.C. offer a path, a guide through the uncertainty.
“You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” ― Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable