Fontaines D.C. – “Dogrel” Album Review
“Dublin in the rain is mine!” Yell the four-piece ensemble 10 seconds into Dogrel’s opening track “Big.” Chances are, if you like what you hear in this sub two minute intro, you are going to love what the band has in store. Raw, emphatic punk rock tackling everything from how Ireland’s government is mistreating its people, to sellouts and hypocrites. The vocalist calls to mind a young Ian Curtis back when Joy Division was on the rise. Yet, as for the sound? It finds a way to stay refreshingly new.
Tracks “Sha Sha Sha” and “Boys in the Better Land” sound like a band simply having fun. Free with creative expression and direction, the lyrics dip playfully as the riffs swing and diverge. One would think as though the band was in the middle of a jam session. It shows that they can be professional without having to take themselves too seriously in the process.
Meanwhile, songs like their radio anthem “Too Real” show the sheer powerhouse this young group has. The guitars, shattering the soundscape, ring out from left to right. As the crash-cymbals, layer the track only after a signaling howl from the group’s front man. “None can pull the passion loose from youths ungrateful hands / As it stands, I'm about to make a lot of money.” The group is never content, they want to be the best and they are not going to walk away second place. “Hurricane Laughter” also shows the bands prowess on the aggressive forefront. When listening it is impossible to sit still. A short bit of poetry for lyrics are read, almost as a tease, holding off the chaos of noise that the band has ready and waiting. The result is a euphoric cry to those willing to hear it.
Fun raucous aside, the tracks that really seem to leave the biggest impression are the slow jams. Brilliantly video graphed “Roy’s Tune” shows the story of a young couple raising a child in Dublin. The husband is reminiscing on his days of evergreen eyes as a cool youth. Still wanting to see his friends at night, wrestling with his conscious - “I love the way they treat me, but I hate the way they use her.” Are song in the same monotonic fashion as the rest of the songs, but you can hear a yearning in his voice, a brief tremble, resembling a sign of weakness in the singer himself. “Television Screen” delivers in a similar manner. Chatten’s songwriting abilities should not be overlooked. He is capable of conveying a full body of emotions and story without explicitly telling what is going on.
“Dogrel” is the type of album that will make any celebrator of Saint Patrick’s Day, regardless of background, feel like a true son or daughter of the Eire. A pure punk record from start to finish, one that is unparalleled to anything put out in the genre this year.
Reviewer’s Favorite Tracks: “Roy’s Tune,” “Too Real,” “Boys in the Better Land,” “Television Screen”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Tracks: N/A
Matthew Dunn is a junior majoring in print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.