Secret Meeting score: 90
by Joseph Purcell
‘Dublin in the rain is mine / a pregnant city with a catholic mind,’ cries Fontaines D.C frontman, Grian Chatters, on Big – Dogrel’s howling opener. Steeped in punk tradition, the debut LP is a propulsive ball of fury – with Chatters adopting somewhat of a Mark E Smith moniker, as his witty lyrical observations spit over the thunder and lightning of his band.
From the opening, Dogrel, grabs and throttles – bringing a freshness and a spirit that’s not been heard from a guitar band since 2002’s – NME titled – New Rock Revolution.
After the startling cacophony of Big, which is a minute and forty-five seconds of furious, spiteful bite – ‘My childhood was small, but I’m gonna be big’, Chequeless Wreckless and the hypnotic kraut rock of Too Real also delight in equal measure.
Dogrel’s centre piece and its pinnacle, however, is Hurricaine Laughter – on which Chatters preaches – ‘And there is no connection available, there is no connection available’ – which encapsulates the sound of joyous, unbound youth. And it is a welcome voice amongst the political haywire that adopts modern day life. Roy’s Tune is the perfect complement, which feels like the morning after the all-out fury of Hurricane Laughter’s night before. It displays a softer side, packed with witty observations over a delightful pop chorus. While closer, Dublin City Sky, is an ode to their home, capturing the bittersweet love of The Pogues’ finest moments, and follows the brilliant Modern Lovers-esque Boys in the Better Land: a five-minute call to arms, packed with yet more swagger, confidence and spite – ‘You’re not alive till you start kicking!’ Chatters drawls in his distinctive Dublin accent.
Fontaines D.C have introduced themselves unashamedly on this breakneck, rollicking debut, which in some ways feels as vital and refreshing as when Messrs Barat and Doherty appeared on the scene nearly twenty years ago.