> Album review: Skinty Fia – Fontaines D.C - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

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Album review: Skinty Fia – Fontaines D.C

Fontaines D.C. continue on the path of poetic post- punk triumph as they return with their third album, Skinty Fia. Following their 2020 award-nominated album A Hero’s Death, the band haven’t deviated far, with the esteemed sound of Grian Chatten’s distinctive vocals singing emotive lyrics over dark basslines and brooding melodies still key.

With Skinty Fia the Irish musicians, who are now living in London, address their identity as semi- outsiders. The Irish phrase translates roughly to ‘The Damnation of the Deer’; the album cover of Skinty Fia shows the extinct Irish deer taken from its natural habitat, standing in the hallway of a home.

The band nurture themes of loss and love in the opening track ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’ (In Our Hearts Forever). The song was written about the true story of a woman in England who wasn’t allowed to have ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’ on her gravestone because the council deemed the Irish language on a memorial as political. You might be surprised to learn that these events happened in 2020, emphasising the relevance of Fontaines’ thoughtful, sociopolitical lyrics confronting the still tense stigma surrounding Irishness.

The band celebrate their heritage, particularly within the accordion-led song ‘The Couple Across The Way’. This composition encapsulates the honest hopes and fears of love through means of Irish traditional music. The rest of the album is a bittersweet love letter to Ireland, supported by bass-dominated catchy riffs and upbeat rhythms. With a well-crafted string of dark and reflective songs, Fontaines D.C.’s latest album will not disappoint lovers of pensive thoughts and alternative rock.

Skinty Fia is out 22nd April on Partisan Records

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