The Last Mixed Tape reviews Dogrel, the much-anticipated debut studio album from Fontaines D.C.
Not a second of Dogrel goes to waste. As lean as it is vital, the music of Fontaines D.C. debut speaks of immediacy, frustration and restlessness, all shimmering under a collision of harsh stark post-punk milieu that portrays a Dublin that has burst from the pavement and out of the speakers.
Opening with the thunderous pounding beat of ‘Big’, the short sharp shock beginning of Dogrel instantly sets out Fontaines D.C. manifesto both sonically and lyrically, as the relentless thrash of drums and guitar, drawled vocal and confrontational wordplay put everything out on front-street, this is the sound of not just Fontaines D.C. but a generation aware that they have been disenfranchised and wanting more (“my childhood was small, but I’m gonna big”).
Moving on to tense bass line and scratching noise of ‘Too Real’, the clipped vocal delivery has an almost antagonistic air to it as “I’m about to make a lot of money, gold harps on the side” is loosely thrown out with a nihilistic glint in the eye. Indeed, much of how Dogrel simply feels, is its power. The record just exudes confidence in what it’s saying, and how its saying it. Songs like ‘Hurricane Laughter’ find Fontaines D.C. propelling the album forward with a very definite direction in mind.
That’s not to say Dogrel completely beats the listener over the head with heavy post-punk from start to finish. There are more introspective moments too, the molasses like weaving of ‘The Lotts’, make the urgency of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ have a defined impact whilst also portraying a sense of space within the album itself.
But its the cultural relevancy of Dogrel that truly sets it apart. While the post-punk/indie-rock backbone of the music is familiar to whats come before, its how different it is to whats happening now and how it uses this backdrop to speak about whats relevant. ‘Boys In A Better Land’ convey the grit, determination to break out and sense of identity that is indicative of the Irish experience in 2019.
Dogrel is the sound of fury pushing against the malaise of reality, this clash of moods is the driving force that makes Fontaines D.C. connect in such a profound way, its not ponderous, it’s not pretentious, it’s concrete, it’s tactile.
Dogrel is due for release on April 12th.