Well, that didn’t take long.
Less than 18 months after storming and swarming onto the scene with the slashing anthems and brash proclamations of their instant-classic debut disc Dogrel, the Irish post-punks of Fontaines D.C. sound like they’re having second thoughts about this whole rock-star thing. Their sophomore set A Hero’s Death is a dark, dour and downbeat affair fuelled by brooding tales of alienation, isolation, consternation and desperation — apparently the side-effect of their too-much, too-soon, too-far-too fast ascent. Oh sure, there are a few numbers where they crank up the volume and the tempo to blow off some steam. And even at their bleakest, human foghorn Grian Chatten and his bandmates are still one of the more compelling and commanding acts around. Furthermore, you have to give them credit for confronting the harsher aspects of their current reality instead of just putting on fake smiles and bashing out a second-rate rehash of their first album. But with all that said, Fontaines D.C. still come off somewhere between shell-shocked and world-weary and burned-out on these 11 cuts. With any luck, they’ll be able to regroup and find their feet again now that they’ve been able to get some much-needed down time and distance from the soul-crushing, headspinning grind of the endless road. But as it stands right now, A Hero’s Death feels less like a great band’s triumphant return and more like the music industry’s latest example of why people tell you to be careful what you wish for.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Barely a year after the release of their hugely acclaimed debut album Dogrel, which earned a Mercury Prize nomination and Album of the Year 2019 at both BBC 6Music and Rough Trade record store, Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. have returned with an intensely confident, patient, and complex follow up album. A Hero’s Death arrives battered and bruised, albeit beautiful — a heady and philosophical take on the modern world, and its great uncertainty.”