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Fontaines DC, the Irish “punk-poets” of the new rock scene

Crowned the best group in the world by the British magazine New Musical Express, the Dublin quintet returns on Friday with a third album entitled Skinty Fia.

Leaving to find each other better: the members of Fontaines DC, diamond of the new rock scene, left their city of Dublin for London, with a third album of great density. Last month, NME, British magazine, which makes rain and shine in the trendy sphere, consecrated the quintet as the best group in the world. “We’re going to celebrate like at No. 10”, exclaimed singer Grian Chatten as he received the trophy, a gold-colored hand with a raised middle finger. A reference to the holiday scandal at 10 Downing Street in full confinement that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson drags like a ball.

It will be necessary to be satisfied with this projection because the author of the texts of Fountains DC reduced the airfoil in interview, too locked in his eyes in the costume of the leader. It is one of the two guitarists, Conor Curley, who complies with the exercise. But he too pays attention to simplistic images, even if they are initially flattering. Thus, upon the release of their first album Dogrel (2019), the press dubbed them the “punk-poets”. They didn’t recognize themselves by their guitar cases in college but by the covers of borrowed poetry books. Because of this tag, Conor Curley got rejected. “At one point, I didn’t even want to read poetry at all because I felt like people expected that from me”explains the musician to AFP, a few hours before returning to L’Olympia in Paris.

“Out of time”

“Like being handed a Yeats and saying take it inside you». The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 will not be the only Irish author he will quote during the interview. Like when he describes the state of mind of the group. “We’re just like-minded people, incredibly romantic thinking of the Dublin scene, of writers like Patrick Kavanagh, and all those spirits floating above the city, sharing their creation.”.

“Maybe we feel a little out of time”, he slips. Out of time but lucid about the pitfalls to avoid in the life of a group. He does not hide it, the pandemic has certainly stopped their momentum to defend their second album on stage (A hero’s death, 2020) but kept the lineup from blowing up between marathon tour and repeat parties. The forced break and then a move to London were lifelines. “We found a sense of community between us, as Irish expatriates”he asserts. In ár gCroíthe go deofirst title of the album Skinty Fia (expected this Friday), refers to a story that caused a stir in the UK.

The Northern Irish conflict

The English ecclesiastical authorities have put a spoke in the wheels of a family who wanted to inscribe this sentence in Irish (“in our hearts forever”) on a gravestone in England. Lest it unleash passions and revive memories of the Northern Irish conflict. “This story sent shivers down my spine”confides the guitarist. “The idea that they think the Irish language is a provocation is terribly hurtful. They wanted to eradicate this language that someone wanted to put in homage on a tombstone…”

When they settle in English pubs, the members of Fontaines DC often hear bad jokes flourishing about the IRA or the term “Paddy”, a derogatory nickname for Irish immigrants. In reaction, their album is called Skinty Fiaold Irish phrase, “the damnation of the deer”, used as a swear word by the drummer’s great-aunt when something was bothering her. The cover of the disc also shows this animal, young and without its antlers, in a house with worrying red walls. Reflection of a group that sometimes feels alien to the world around it.

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