Album review: Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

The debut album from Dublin-based four piece Fontaines D.C. has been highly anticipated by those with their ear to the ground. Obviously that means this is the first I’ve heard of them, but I’m very glad to make their acquaintance.

Dogrel is at heart a slab of highly entertaining post-punk but manages to draw influences from various styles along the way.

Opening track Big shows their punk credentials while also rooting the band as distinctly Irish, both in the vocal stylings of singer Grian Chatten and in the slight Gaelic folk undertone running through the tune. Chatten’s drawling regional singing gives the whole album a whiff of The Pogues running through it.

This folkiness is apparent across the platter, with the likes of Television Screens and Dublin City Sky featuring it particularly strongly. But there are other strings to this band’s bow (or fiddle).

The Lotts borrows heavily from early Cure in the rhythm section, low key but relentless. This is matched in tempo by the vocals, before drifting towards a hypnotic, head-nodding conclusion. Sha Sha Sha is a chugging number that has more than a hint of blues to it while Liberty Belle smacks of Green Day and american skater punk.

It’s when Fontaines D.C. are playing on the heavier side of post-punk that the album truly comes alive. Hurricane Laughter, for instance, features a fantastic dirty bass line and a brilliant guitar riff reminiscent of the work of FEWS. Standout track Chequeless Reckless operates firmly in punk territory – as does the high tempo jangly guitars of Boys in the Better Land.

There are few bum notes on this album, but when the tempo slows, the noise abates slightly and the vocals come more to the fore, on tracks such as Too Real and Roy’s Tune, then the weakness in Chatten’s voice is exposed. Clearly, vocal perfection is not a pre-requisite for punk, but it might be better not to highlight this as much as this album does.

That said, I can see Dogrel staying on my playlist for some time.

Release date: 12 April 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Chequeless Reckless

For fans of:

  • IDLES
  • Shame
  • The Pogues

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EP review: Flat Worms – Into The Iris

Flat Worms - Into The Iris EP cover

This is the first full EP from LA post-punk (very much on the punk side) three-piece Flat Worms since their fantastic eponymous debut album in 2017, and it was worth the wait.

Into The Iris is a six-track, 16-minute adrenaline rush, that barely takes its foot off the pedal. opener Surreal New Year starts at breakneck speed – all fuzzy guitar riffs, impatient drums and a distinct Dead Kennedys vibe.

This continues with title track Into The Iris, which draws on more hypnotic elements and brings vocalist Will Ivy’s lazy, drawling lyrics (you can hardly call it singing) to the fore.

Things barely drop off through Plastic at Home, with it’s nice wobbly bass line and Shouting at the Wall, which has a strong retro feel to it – no bad thing in this case.

Only as we hit the final third of the EP do things start to slow down a little with laid back instrumental Scattered Palms and melancholy closer At the Citadel, a more pedestrian number which unfortunately shows that Ivy’s vocal style isn’t as well suited to the slower pace.

Overall a great EP that whet’s the appetite for another full-length album. Hurry up fellas!

Release date: 08 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Shouting at the Wall

For fans of:

  • Dead Kennedys
  • Idles
  • The Lovely Eggs

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2018 Music Review – August

As summer hits its stride (though I do recall the weather starting to get worse at this point) there were some top album releases, and plenty to make you jump about.

First, the quieter moments were provided by the likes of Kathryn Joseph whose delicate album of heartfelt songs had an ethereal quality to them. There was also an impressive reworking of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons by Anna Meredith. Rather than messing too much with Vivaldi’s composition she provided a rich framework around the pieces, interpsersing her own works that gave the originals space to breath and added a new layer of experience to this classic piece.

Interpol‘s latest album Marauder, didn’t really pull up and trees, but it was competent enough and their musical approach always pleases me.

Nothing flew the shoegaze flag this month while female trio Our Girl provided the indie-pop fix. Warm Drag‘s excellent debut album added a 60s go-go feel to dubby synth with a dash of indie rock thrown in to the mix as well.

Justice’s live-not-live album was also a welcome reminder of just how good this electro-dance band are when playing to a crowd – even when there’s not one there.

A strong showing from punk this month too, with Slaves and Right Shitty producing some excellent moments on their respective albums. And it was punk that also provided the album of the month.

It was never really in any doubt that IDLES would be my top album of the month. Their debut album Brutalism was probably my favourite of 2017, and Joy as an Act of Resistance built on that magnificent start with a series of hugely infectious riffs coupled with Joe Talbots’s brilliantly simple lyrical style. Their awesomeness was brought home when they played a small venue in Brighton as part of their album launch. It was an amazing experience and I suspect we will never see them playing such a small venue again. They are destined for great things.

Top 10 August 2018

1: IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

Standout track: Never Fight A Man With A Perm

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2: Justice – Woman Worldwide

Standout track: Chrous (WWW)

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3: Anna Meredith & Antonio Vivaldi – ANNO: Four Seasons

Standout track: Thunder – Summer

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4: Warm Drag – Warm Drag

Standout track: Cave Crawl

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5: Slaves – Acts of Fear and Love

Standout track: Photo Opportunity

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6: Right Shitty – Bachelor of Arts

Standout track: Best Buzz

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7: Our Girl – Stranger Today

Standout track: Our Girl

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8: Interpol – Marauder

Standout track: The Rover

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9: Nothing – Dance On The Blacktop

Standout track: Blue Line Baby

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10: Kathryn Joseph – From When I Wake The Want Is

Standout track: Mouths Full Of Blood

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