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A Hero's Death review: Time to start believing the hype as Fontaines DC confirm themselves as the real deal

Frontman Grian Chatten comes of age in mesmerising post-punk offering

  • Fontaines DC
  • A Hero’s Death
  • 4 Stars

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Fontaines DC. Photo by Ellius Grace

Fontaines DC. Photo by Ellius Grace

Fontaines DC. Photo by Ellius Grace

HYPE can do terrible things to young bands. Even before they released their debut album, Dogrel, last year, one might have worried that Fontaines DC would drown under the waves of expectation. And then the album emerged and it hoovered up the sort of critical plaudits that any band might dream of, let alone an Irish group who had only been together a couple of years. Their frenetic shows demonstrated that they were just as compelling outside the studio.

They’ve wasted little time in following it up, but it hasn’t been plain sailing. Last October, the quintet decamped to Los Angeles for a month to make an album. Frontman Grian Chatten talked up his love of The Beach Boys. But they were unhappy with what emerged. It didn’t, they later claimed, capture the seedy underbelly of what they were looking for.

Before Christmas, they took the difficult step of scrapping the whole thing and in January they went to London to record with Dan Carey, who produced Dogrel. The result is hugely compelling — an album that will appeal to both those who obsessed over their debut and anyone new to the band.