Last year, Irish rockers Fontaines D.C. released their debut album Dogrel to critical acclaim. Paste caught them live at SXSW 2019 and named them one of the best acts of the festival. Later, we interviewed the band’s frontman Grian Chatten and named Dogrel one of the best albums of that year. Today (May 5), the band has shared the details of their follow-up album A Hero’s Death, out on July 31 via Partisan Records.
The news also comes with the unveiling of the album’s title track and an accompanying chat show-themed music video starring Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, The Wire, Peaky Blinders) as the smiley host. The song features brooding plug-and-chug guitars, but there’s a lightness in their Beach Boys-like backing vocal “bop’s” and a strange bittersweetness in Grian Chatten’s recitation of the phrase “Life’s not always empty.” Another phrase “goes around, goes around” is a subtle nod to their Dogrel track “Too Real,” which features the same line with emphatic power.
Chatten says of the song and video:
The song is a list of rules for the self, they’re principles for self-prescribed happiness that can often hang by a thread. It’s ostensibly a positive message, but with repetition comes different meanings, that’s what happens to mantras when you test them over and over. There’s this balance between sincerity and insincerity as the song goes on and you see that in the music video as well. That’s why there’s a lot of shifting from major key to minor key. The idea was influenced by a lot of the advertising I was seeing—the repetitive nature of these uplifting messages that take on a surreal and scary feel the more you see them.
And he adds of the album title:
The title came from a line in a play by Brendan Behan, and I wrote the lyrics during a time where I felt consumed by the need to write something else to alleviate the fear that I would never be able follow up Dogrel. But more broadly it’s about the battle between happiness and depression, and the trust issues that can form tied to both of those feelings.
Dan Carey (black midi, Bat for Lashes), who produced and mixed Dogrel is back to helm this record as well, which he produced in his London studio. Per a press release, the band cites Suicide, The Beach Boys, Leonard Cohen, Beach House, Broadcast and Lee Hazlewood as influences.
Watch the video below, and check out the album artwork and tracklist for A Hero’s Death.
01. I Don’t Belong
02. Love Is The Main Thing
03. Televised Mind
04. A Lucid Dream
05. You Said
06. Oh Such A Spring
07. A Hero’s Death
08. Living In America
09. I Was Not Born