Only four years ago, Fontaines D.C. released their first set of singles — one of which being “Boys In The Better Land,” an anthemic romp about the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side. Now, the boys of Fontaines D.C. have moved to London to see for themselves.
For their brilliant third album, Skinty Fia—which is undoubtedly their most complex and nuanced album yet—the Irish rockers are digging even deeper into their Irish identity, looking both outward and inward, and offering empathetic observations and plainspoken truths.
The expansive sound that Fontaines D.C. employs on Skinty Fia (out Friday, April 22nd) is a logical advancement from 2020’s Grammy-nominated A Hero’s Death, but the storytelling throughout points to a band totally unafraid of the unknown. “There were stories on this record that are not about me and that are not about Dublin and that are not about anyone in our band,” says frontman Grian Chatten. “They’re stories with empathy and tales through which we relate.”
Chatten and the rest of the band have never been strangers to poetic post-punk, but Skinty Fia is as bold and beautiful as ever. There are long passages of detailed anecdotes, electrifying moments of rock, and more experimentation than any previous Fontaines D.C. record. One song, the affecting and sensitive “The Couple Across The Way,” details a couple’s fiery argument, but rather than employ a sunny indie rock sound a la Arlo Parks’ “Caroline” (which features a similar subject matter), the song is just Chatten and an accordion, ever so removed from the fraught conflict.
And unsurprisingly, Chatten couldn’t be feeling more confident about the record. “Our powers were at their maximum potential and we were privileged with a year, essentially, without traveling,” says Chatten. “We were able to look around and actually put them to good use.”
Indeed, Skinty Fia is the furthest iteration of the Fontaines D.C. project yet—the scrappy angst that characterized songs like “Boys In The Better Land” has mutated into an even more emotional, deliberate, and nuanced portrait of both Irishness and humanity. Chatten agrees: “I think this record is probably the most realized we’ve ever been as a band.”
Consequence chatted with Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten about Skinty Fia, the inspiration points for the album, being on tour, and more. Check out the full Q&A below.
You’re about six weeks away from the release of Skinty Fia. Do you feel nervous at all?
I don’t have a nerve on me anymore. To be honest with you, the sort of lead up to the release of that first single (“Jackie Down The Line”), I was pretty nervous. It was kind of that thing where, for us anyway, relatively speaking, it had been a while since we had released an album. We released the first two in such quick succession, that this one… it’s the same thing with the vaccine. I went for the third shot the other day and all of a sudden I developed a phobia of needles. For the third one!
So, I had fear releasing the first thing off this record that wasn’t really there in the pre-existing records. It just went down so well, especially the last tune we put out, “I Love You,” it seemed to hit and people connected with it in exactly the way I wanted them to. So, I’m not really nervous at all to be honest.