Irony is a scarce commodity in popular music nowadays but Irish post-punk group Fontaines D.C.’s title track from their forthcoming album A Hero’s Death slathers on double-helpings of the dramatic and tragic variety. The song’s queasy, disconcerting music video enhances the sense of gallows humour (featuring a troubled Aidan Gillen as the flash TV chat show host protagonist in a revolving waking nightmare of professional putrefaction and inner torment); but the band’s clanking, sonic assault on the listener and mordant lyrical hooks are as hypnotic as ever.
In other words, Fontaines D.C. are a dead certainty to imperiously transcend the dreaded second-album syndrome. Fans will be relieved to hear this track providing cast-iron proof that Fontaines’ engine room of creativity remains a well-oiled machine. Listen as it methodically pumps out, and radiates with, the cerebral and subversive energy of alternative music’s future.
Feel the indestructible steel of that inner-city, northside Dublin vernacular. The song’s lyrics are a compiled list of avuncular platitudes. They make a mockery of the lame, weary advice parents might give to their children. These clichés offer little consolation to a beleaguered Aidan Gilllen as he plunges deeper and deeper into a desperate search for meaning. “Life ain’t always empty” is Grian Chatten’s (Fontaines D.C.’s lead singer) refrain, satirically juxtaposed with Gillen’s confrontation with the very hollowness of his existence. However, with Fontaines D.C. continuing to fill the void for a generation of independent music lovers, we might be forgiven for joining this chorus in earnest.
Words by Patrick O’Donoghue