“I‘m gonna be big!” announces Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten on the first track of his band’s misleadingly titled debut album Dogrel. One assumes he’s being sarcastic. But he’s not wrong. Relatively speaking, of course.
The three-year-old Dublin post-punks are already the toast of the town back home, and this strong showing should earn them plenty of critical kudos and at least cult-level popularity on this side of the pond. A lot of that is down to everyman Chatten, whose brash bark, accented delivery, acerbically poetic lyrics (“Money is a sandpit of the soul”) and urgently repeated choruses ground these 11 songs — and follow in the abrasive footsteps of everyone from John Lydon to Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson. But the band’s angularly clanging guitar lines, grimly chugging Joy Division basslines and relentlessly thumping beats certainly don’t hurt their chances. “Is it too real for ya?” Chatten sneers at one point. Not on your life, big man.