In a few small hours, the world will be able to finally hear the new record by Fontaines D.C. I don’t say this lightly when I say it is truly one of the most heartfelt, heartbreaking and brutally honest records of the year. There will be no comparisons to their debut, Dogrel. The only fair comparison is that both records are phenomenal and show us exactly why they are one of the most exciting and exhilarating bands around. If you’re looking for a record that soaks up all of your anger, insecurities, fear, lust and all that goes in between, then this is the record for you. Treasure it.
Fontaines D.C. are quite frankly the best at what they do. We can all agree on that, right? With so much uncertainty in the world it’s hard to find any good in anything or in anyone. It’s totally okay to have a meltdown. It’s okay to feel like shit and not have the words to describe why. You can be as happy as a pig in shit one minute, then be a bawling mess the next. I get it. More than I wish I did. One of the few things that can get me out of a rut is music. Certain bands can drag me out when I can’t. We all look for a crutch in conventional and unconventional things. What they have done on A Hero’s Death is something that goes beyond words. It’s the record you’ve been needing for so long. You’ve been so desperate for this record. You will cling to it- day and night. It will be all you have at 3am when the world goes quiet, but your mind doesn’t.
Vocally, Grian has excelled himself. His voice on this record is that of someone who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with their words and share them with you in a way you didn’t know someone could. Without being too personal, I’ve struggled since last August when my Gran died to find any joy in music. I didn’t want to hear anything new. I didn’t want to hear anything old. I got in this phase of just playing certain songs over and over. To the point where I didn’t want to listen to music. I cried myself to sleep many times listening to The Murder Capital. I blocked out bits of grief to Fontaines D.C. I was finding ways to cope. Nearly a year on, I’m still there. I’ve made peace with grief, fully not accepting she is gone at times. The poetry on A Hero’s Death is beautifully crafted, a sheer romantic record in all ways possible. The typical to the not so typical. One thing that is constantly constant is the greatness and honesty on the record.
A Lucid Dream is my number one obsession right now; I love the ferocious energy it has, and I cannot wait to see them perform this live (May cannot com quick enough.) There is something about the way it musically sounds like The Birthday Party but vocally, it goes beyond. I love everything about this song. You can just imagine it being played live, with the lights as dim as possible with the smoke machine going on overdrive, and everyone in the room just loses their mind to it. Heavenly. God, I miss going to gigs.
You Said is a gentle number, vocally. But don’t let that fool you. It is a monster of a song and the way A Lucid Dream flows right into it is just divine. I love how the songs flow into each other. The order of the songs on A Hero’s Death is sublime, and you cannot help but fall in love with this record within seconds. Their second record comes just around 18 months or so (a little less) than their debut. You can hear the growth and power in what they do. I’m all for music sometimes keeping me on edge/making me feel a little uncomfortable but A Hero’s Death is a safety net. It is such a comforting record that just soothes your soul. One of my favourite moments on the record is Carlos and Conor’s guitar on You Said. It is so gentle, but it is so powerful. Mix this with Tom’s ethereal drumming and Conor’s slick bass- you’ve got the most beautifully created song imaginable.
There is so much poetic imagery on this record, and songs like Oh Such a Spring feel like a lullaby and all of a sudden you are smacked in the chops again with the title track. It’s an effortlessly brilliant move, and the way Grian chants “Life ain’t always empty” just makes you feel less alone. The song is a mantra for those who are unsure or are struggling. It’s alright. It’ll be alright.
The last song on the record is just over 5 minutes long and I urge you to play No on your own, through headphones. The whole record should be played like this, but this song in particular just makes you feel like you need to go outside and find a place quiet/sacred and listen to it through headphones with no interruptions. Make this song yours. It is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a long time. I read somewhere that bands like Suicide and Beach House played an influential role to this record. As someone who adores both bands, I can definitely hear a nod to Beach House on this one. It is the most perfect ending to such a perfect record. I’m in awe of every single song.
2019 saw the band probably work harder more than most. Touring was relentless and their music was (and of course, still is) vital. A Hero’s Death is one of the few positive things to happen this year, and my god it is such a powerful and important record. It is one of those records that you hope some kid in a tiny village hears, and they scribble their thoughts in a notebook. They find like-minded pals and form a band which allows them to speak their truth and what they see/feel. It is such an inspiring record, and I honestly don’t think anything is going to top this record. I love the sense of community the band give off. You can feel it on the Facebook group, you can feel it intensely at their live shows. They are a band that just make everyone feel every single word, every note, every beat. Every single detail is felt right in your soul. And you cling to it.
With 11 songs coming in just over 45 minutes, Fontaines D.C. have given us something to treat as our reflection. Something that pulls things out of us that we may be afraid of. It’s comforting but it is also THE most exciting record of the year. My words don’t do this record justice. It’s out tomorrow- BUY IT!