Thursday, September 24, 2020


Fontaines D.C. returned on July 31 st 2020 with a much anticipated second album ‘A Hero’s Death’ on Partisan Records. Just over a year since their debut record ‘Dogrel’ was released, the title referencing a comic and slovenly form of working-class Irish poetry known as doggerel, their first album release embodied a labour-endured grit with critical acclaim - gaining a Mercury Prize nomination and album of the year 2019 at both BBC 6Music and Rough Trade record store.

Building on Fontaines D.C.’s strong links to the Emerald Isle, in fact, the suffix of the band’s name is in homage to the initials of Dublin City, ‘A Hero’s Death’ continues Irish semantics, in both title and aesthetic. The name of the record derives from the line ‘Everybody’s looking for a hero’s death’ in The Hostage by Irish playwright Brendan Behan, whilst the album art features the statue of mythological Irish warrior Cuchulainn, currently standing in Dublin as a commemoration of the Easter Rising.

After an introduction to the fortitude we heard on ‘Dogrel’, the Dubliners seem to be declaring an uprising, spurred on by Irish warrior spirit stamped onto ‘A Hero’s Death’ cover art, orated by frontman Grian Chatten and incited by the rest of the band, Carlos O'Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass), and Tom Coll (drums).

The fourth track from ‘A Hero’s Death’ boasts a swirling intensity, ‘A Lucid Dream’ portrays a stark image that renders the figures depicted as having little control over the despair they face. The video starts off with aerial views of Chatten spiralling down numerous staircases, but this is far from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. Flickering VHS style filters and grainy scenes reveal the impending desolation of what is to come. Archival black and white footage of a decimated Dublin City scape flickers intermittently with Chatten’s harrowing words, the view from a fish-eye lens uncovering wide angles of carnage.

As post-punk thuds and guitars strike through the reels of demolished war-torn buildings, an old newspaper headline ‘Irish War News’ becomes prominent on screen as scorning Army cavalry troops trot through town on horseback. We also see a moving archive shot of the ‘Irish Transport and Central Workers Union’ construction standing proudly as other buildings are torn down around it, later on lyrics “They just wanna come to your place and see you sing,” are exclaimed by Chatten, perhaps a nod to superior voyeurism from unwelcome politicians or governments.

The chaos and hysteria continues in this lucid portrayal as frenzied light leaks throughout the video “the bulletin board was shot up like a ward full of junk and all kinds of despair”, interspersed with introspective shots of Chatten and swirling natural treelines.

‘A Lucid Dream’ was created by production company ‘Double Vision’, produced by Daisy Dobson and directed by Jordan Martin. Watch Fontaines D.C. - A Lucid Dream (Official Video) Taken from 'A Hero's Death' here:

The take home message from this album? That Irish youth have the capacity to conduct change from the ground up. ‘A Hero’s Death’ might sound like a noble fantasy but what this Dublin five-piece encapsulate is far from martyrdom. Fontaines D.C. really seem to believe the power of collective youth, I for one believe in their leading charge of hope – the power of their delivery defies anyone from standing in their way.

Joey Lee 

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