A little over a year since the release of their incendiary debut, Fontaines DC are right back at it. But if you thought another rollicking, rabble-rouser was on the cards, it’s time to think again. While the Dublin band’s early sound became defined by the agitated post-punk and no-nonsense vocals of ‘Dogrel’, on its follow-up the band are branching away, exploring a more varied - and at times darker - palette. An album that holds a mirror up to the group’s blistering rise and the resulting uncertainties with their newfound fame and demand, ‘A Hero’s Death’ arrives a much more complex beast. From opener ‘I Don’t Belong’ - with frontman Grian Chatten’s repeated drawl of “I don’t belong to anyone” ringing loud and clear - through to the likes of ‘I Was Not Born’ and the cautionary tale that is the title track, there’s a sense that this version of the band bear a few more scars than previously. Sonically, the mood has shifted too; smoky atmospherics swirl through ‘Love Is The Main Thing’, while the motorik percussion of both ‘A Lucid Dream’ and the title track whip up a heady sense of claustrophobia. A more sinuous effort than their previous razor-sharp debut - with the shoegazey ‘You Said’ and ‘Oh Such A Spring’’s dreaminess helping to define the record’s mesmerising quality - it also shows just how far they’ve come in such a short space of time. An unexpected move, perhaps, but a deft and accomplished one all the same, this is a second album that builds upon the foundations they’ve laid so far and opens up their world to all manner of possibilities. If ‘Dogrel’ promised that Fontaines DC were gonna be big, it’s with ‘A Hero’s Death’ that they prove they were worth the hype all along.
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