Fontaines D.C. add four extra dates to their UK Tour
Fontaines D.C. have added a further four live dates to their quickly selling-out 2021 UK tour. Earlier this week the band played new album A Hero’s Death live in full for the first time online to a watching audience that topped 4000. Lockdown has not dampened appetite for live music and in the wake of selling out two nights at Glasgow’s Barrowlands, a show at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange is added. In the North West, Liverpool’s Mountford Hall will host the band after two nights at Manchester’s Academy sold out fast. Sheffield’s show at the O2 Academy has also just topped-out. Nottingham Rock City and Bath Forum complete May 2021’s new additions.
This week of course also sees the band’s universally lauded new album A Hero’s Death go toe-to-toe with global pop icon Taylor Swift’s Folklore in a battle for the #1 album spot this Friday. Anyone buying the album before midnight tonight via the band’s webstore will get access to the ticket pre-sale for the new dates, which begins at 9am on Wednesday 12th August. Anyone who has already purchased the album via the band’s webstore will automatically get access. Alternatively, those who sign up to the band’s mailing list will also get access to the pre-sale. Tickets go on general sale on the 14th August.
"Exceptional" - The Guardian Album of The Week ★★★★★
Fontaines D.C. have a way with mission statements. “I don't belong to anyone/ I don't want to belong to anyone,” frontman Grian Chatten drawls in the chorus of “I Don't Belong,” the opening track of the band's new album A Hero's Death, sounding like someone riddled with angst yet resolved to protect their own freedom at all costs. If not a retreat, it almost sounds like a defensive rebuke of “Big” — Fontaines' last album opener, the one that rushed out the gates hungry to consume the whole world while proclaiming “My childhood was small/ But I'm gonna be big!” The fact that Fontaines D.C.'s new album A Hero's Death begins with “I Don't Belong” is hard to take as anything but a pointed inversion, the music moodier and the lyrics more searching. Though the tone is noticeably different, the introduction is no less intentional: This is not the same Fontaines D.C.
Last year, Fontaines D.C. released their debut album Dogrel to widespread acclaim, garnering a legion of fans worldwide along the way. They toured behind it relentlessly. In another time, this would be nothing but a success story: A young band delivering on the hype rather than being swallowed by it. They should have been riding high; it should have been nothing but a triumphant year. But to hear the band speak of it, the whirlwind experience almost destroyed them.
“One of the best new bands of our time” - The Times ★★★★
Suddenly on the road constantly, the band's members — Chatten, guitarists Carlos O'Connell and Conor Curley, bassist Conor Deegan III, and drummer Tom Coll — found themselves growing not only distant from one another, but distant from themselves. “We experienced full journeys where we didn't speak to each other,” Chatten remembers. “It wasn't because we didn't love each other anymore. Our souls were kicking back against walls that were closing in. We had no space for ourselves. Our souls had nowhere to live, nowhere to lie.” Soon, Fontaines D.C. reluctantly had to cancel planned shows, finding refuge in writing sessions back home in Dublin and rediscovering what it was that made them want to be a band in the first place.
Now barely a year after Dogrel, they're back with a sophomore album with the loaded (and/or cheeky) title of A Hero's Death. It's an album that builds on what came before at the same time that it seeks to burn down a certain idea of Fontaines D.C. Arising from claustrophobic situations, they have returned with an album that expands outward, an evolution necessary for survival.
“The most electric rock’n’roll band of the 2020s” – MOJO ★★★★
The title track and lead single was written, on some level, in direct response to Dogrel. Chatten first jotted down the lyrics during a playback of the band's debut. “I was consumed by the need to write something else to alleviate the fear that I would never be able to do it again,” he explains. In a sense, this is true of the entirety of A Hero's Death. “When we wrote this album it was a reaction to the success of Dogrel,” O'Connell adds. “We started to feel very detached from who we were when we wrote Dogrel.” The genesis of the album itself began on the road, the band having a couple of beers or whiskies and trying out ideas in the back of a van while driving through America in the middle of the night, taking the scarce hours between one gig and another to re-center creatively and as friends.
The result is something altogether darker and more impressionistic than Dogrel. Far from repeating the short stories and character sketches that dominated their debut, A Hero's Death finds a band grappling with isolation and disorientation by crafting music that is more introspective, looking inwards and trying to make sense of their experiences as their sense of reality melted further out of the frame. Chatten's lyrics have taken on a radically different approach, dispensing with the more literal qualities of Dogrel in favor of more personal writing and, as he puts it, “imaginary universes” to escape into in order to get away from the mental health struggles of touring heavily.
To record A Hero’s Death, the band rejoined producer Dan Carey in his London studio. While Carey once helped them capture the raw sound of the band's live show for Dogrel, collectively they achieved a different goal with A Hero's Death. Citing influences from Suicide and Beach Boys and Leonard Cohen to everyone including Beach House, Broadcast, and Lee Hazlewood, the band carved out a more atmospheric, somber sound for themselves. The songs heave and drone; much of it is too wounded to approach anthemic, even while the litanies of “Love Is The Main Thing” or the surging churn of “Televised Mind” are still plenty easy to get stuck in your head.
“a classic rock and roll album.” – Clash 9/10
What's going to perhaps surprise fans the most is the more restrained, spectral balladry the band explores on a good portion of A Hero's Death. In an effort to slow their own minds on tour, and in an effort to challenge people's preconceptions of what Fontaines D.C. could be, these songs often feel like the core of the album. “You Said” is a yearning, bleary rumination built on strained guitar lines O'Connell and Curley wrote in a hotel room after one particularly listless and depressing day in Brussels; “Oh Such A Spring” dresses a folk tale in glossy modern touches, approximating the imaginary worlds Chatten was seeking. The one-two of “Sunny” and “No” end the album on a note of resounding emotional reckoning.
The bones of the album's oldest songs — “A Hero's Death,” “I Was Not Born,” and “Televised Mind” — all date to back before Dogrel was even released. In a way, you can hear Fontaines D.C. transforming over the course of A Hero's Death, with those earliest songs serving as a living document of a band growing in real time. A Hero's Death was an album written in transit, rooted in literal and spiritual movement, but it isn't a travelogue. While we first came to know Fontaines D.C. as a band with a sharp eye for depicting a specific place, their second outing instead deals with complete lack of place — a band responding to the ground constantly shifting beneath them by concocting new destinations to chase. “That's a thing in many ways on the whole album, to me anyway, the conflict of wanting love and praise and attention from anyone,” Chatten begins. “But also walking the line between having that affection and feeling totally trapped by it.”
"A resounding victory” - Q ★★★★★
If there is another manifesto, or perhaps an answer to the strife elsewhere on the album, it might come from the beginning, in the lyrics of “A Hero's Death.” “Life ain't always empty,” Chatten repeats again and again in a way that suggests he's perhaps uttering the words sarcastically. The chords shift from major to minor, an unstable composition holding up a tenuous sentiment. “That's what happens to mantras when you test them over and over,” Chatten explains. “To me, it is sincere in the end.”
It isn't a mistake that the words death and rebirth mingle within the album. With words taken from a play by Brendan Behan, and album art featuring the statue of the mythological Irish warrior Cuchulainn that stands in Dublin as a commemoration of the Easter Rising, there are layers to the phrase “A hero's death.” Fontaines know that they're going to kill some people's ideas of the band — several of them bristle at the notion that a second album would be full of “post-punk bangers.” They know they are killing a version of themselves. That's part of the point. While not trying to push away the people who loved their music in the first place, the band is trying to push their listeners and themselves. There's something poetic, but also ironic and self-deprecating about the title — Fontaines D.C. knowingly playing into the possibility that many people might be disappointed in something that isn't Dogrel Part 2. A Hero's Death isn't that kind of quick-followup sophomore endeavor. It is, instead, sacrificing one identity in order to take on another, one that is fully their own.
“I do hope that people are shocked,” Chatten concludes. “This is us as people. If people can't accept it or don't like it, then their band is gone.”
UK 2021 headline tour dates are as follows
NEW - 1st May – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
NEW - 3rd May – Nottingham Rock City
NEW - 4th May – Bath Forum
NEW - 6th May – Liverpool Mountford Hall
7th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
8th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
10th May – Leicester De Montfort Hall
11th May – Leeds O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
12th May – Newcastle O2 City Hall
14th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
15th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
17th May – Cambridge Corn Exchange
18th May – Sheffield O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
20th May – Birmingham O2 Academy
21st May – Cardiff Great Hall – SOLD OUT
22nd May – Bristol O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
24th May – Bournemouth O2 Academy
25th May – Southampton O2 Guildhall
27th May – London Alexandra Palace
It is easy to forget that less than 18 months ago Fontaines D.C. were yet to even release their debut album. In the here and now, masterfully captured once again by the unique production talent of Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, the band’s second recordA Hero’s Deatharrives heralded as something of a masterpiece. On the heels of their breakthrough debut albumDogrel, and following the release of lead tracks “A Hero’s Death”, “I Don’t Belong” and “Televised Mind”,A Hero’s Death’s innovative and bruising rush of bold and bewitching song writing is already being fervently devoured by fans. The road awaits.