Irish post-punk rockers Fontaines D.C. follow up their single A Hero’s Death (also the name of the hugely anticipated new album) with album opener I Don’t Belong giving us another taster of what to expect on the band’s second album.
Just like the first single we get the sense of a more mature and confident band developing from the band that shook up the music industry with their hugely impressive, yet raw sounding, Mercury Prize nominated debut Dogrel.
The song is a timely reminder in this current climate that we live in extraordinary times and that mental health is an issue that cannot and should not be ignored. The need to belong is intrinsically part of human nature. Every person, to some degree, needs to feel like they relate to someone around them but that isn’t always the case. Often the world doesn’t make sense and it’s during those long hours on the road away from loved ones when you start to question things more.
With I Don’t Belong Grian Chatten articulates his innermost thoughts, desires and passions from two perspectives - the stance of a soldier and a troubled drinker in a bar. Life happens. The years go by and people change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. There’s that sense sometimes of standing completely alone in a world full of people and there’s also that feeling not to conform yet be true to yourself. It can be a lonely place.
The dark brooding intro of Conor Deegan III’s bass has comparisons to The Cure’s A Forest mixed with the doom and gloom of Joy Division at their very best before Chatten’s monotone delivery cuts in
“You shoulda heard me in the lounger. Telling people what they was. Spitting out all types of sugar. Just dying for a cause, cause, cause”
The “I don’t belong to anyone” repetition, mastered by the wordsmith at an early age, gets his message across and enters your head, convincing you exactly of that.
The cool, controlled bass, guitars and drums now replaced with an ascendency in tempo. Everything feels like it’s spiralling out of control. There’s something building inside. Anxiety. Panic. Despair.
“Threw himself before a bullet. And threw the metal to the dirt. Hear the man’s word”
As Chatten repeats his “I don't belong to anyone” mantra the guitars of Messrs Conor Curley and Carlos O’Connell progressively get more aggressive, scything down anything in their way as Tom Coll’s drums beat down like a blunt instrument bludgeoning you to death as the music engulfs, consumes and encloses giving off a claustrophobic feeling of no escape.
Speaking over the crescendo of noise Chatten telling us again “I don’t belong to anyone” repetitively - not too dissimilar to Fearghal Mckee on the cult favourites that are Whipping Boy song We Don’t Need Nobody Else - as the song decelerates in pace before closing out in a peaceful, serene way.
The video that accompanies the song was directed remotely by bassist Connor Deegan III from his County Mayo home and, explaining the conclusion to video in the sea at Skerries, he says that Grian “submerges himself, completely consumed by his inner thoughts finally coming out into the world.”
So after hearing two songs from the hugely anticipated new album, due for release via Partisan Records on July 31st, there is an air of optimism and excitement that their greatest work is ahead of the Irish quintet. Despite recording a second album in a relatively short space of time the future is most definitely bright and after releasing one of the albums of 2019 it will undoubtedly be no surprise if their follow-up also gets the critical acclaim of their debut.