Tuesday, July 04, 2023

'Chaos For The Fly': The Beautifully Bleak Debut Album from Grian Chatten

Grian Chatten, better known as the lead singer of Fontaines D.C., has released his debut solo album ‘Chaos For The Fly’.

Fontaines D.C. immediately became the frontrunners of modern-day post-punk after the release of their first album ‘Dogrel’ back in 2019. After two more albums and an abundance of live shows, the band is still as popular as ever. Their musical experimentation has led to a maturing sound, with each album being better than the last. 

'Chaos For The Fly’, however, is a massive contrast to the usual Fontaines D.C. sound, showing the individuality and true creativity of frontman Grian Chatten. A truly unique album, the comfortingly sombre mood of ‘Chaos For The Fly’ feels as if it reflects the poetic turmoil of the artist. If being compared to anything at all, the record’s sound could be likened to that of Tim Buckley or Neutral Milk Hotel combined with Chatten’s trademark Irish influence.


With vocals like velvet coursing through the veins of the album and lyrics reflecting upon subjects such as life and death, morality, and more often than not, love, the album feels personal - as if we are getting a glimpse inside the mind of Chatten.


The album opens with its first single ‘The Score’, an acoustic guitar-led reflection that lets the listener know exactly what they are getting themselves into with this record - a complete leftfield turn from the usual Fontaines D.C. sound. Followed by the very distinctive ‘Last Time Every Time Forever’, the first two tracks fully encompass what the album is about.


‘Fairlies’ is the third track on the album and the second to be released as a single back in May. Throughout the song, it is clear to hear Chatten’s own Irish influence in bands like The Pogues, only with vocals more melodic than that of Shane MacGowan. The lyrics speak of Irish mythology whilst still dealing with themes of love and life and death. The lyrics “How can life go so slowly / And death come so fast?” perfectly encapsulate the talent that Grian has as a songwriter and poet.


The remainder of the album experiments with different uses of complex drum patterns, brass instruments and synth-like sounds. While ‘Bob’s Casino’ and ‘Salt Throwers Off A Truck’ are more upbeat and less solemn, the track ‘All Of The People’ is a devastatingly sad addition to the album showing the versatility of Chatten and his ability to keep a melancholic feel throughout the album.


As stated in an Instagram caption Grian writes "Chaos For The Fly is a collection of songs that have lived within me for a while. I recoil at some of them because they reek of a rottenness that has sometimes grown in my soul. Some of them had me smiling well before I knew who they were”.


The album ends on ‘Season For Pain’ which works as the perfect finale to the album. The stark feel flawlessly encapsulates the unique sound of the album leaving the listener wishing the album was longer than just 9 songs.


Jodie Marshall

Instagram: @jodiemarshall_

Twitter: @jodiemarshall_

Image: 'Chaos For The Fly' Official album cover 


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