In the last few years, we have seen British punk returning to make a huge impact on the commercial scene once again. With bands like Idles, Slaves and Shame all taking their own direction in order to forge a unique path for themselves, there has never been a better time for bands like Fontaines D.C. to emerge and bring their distinctive Dublin-based sound with them. With its notable Irish charm and shadowed, lo-fi production, 'Dogrel' is already looking to become one of the best punk records of the year so far.
The first thing that stands out on this new release is the permeating accent of frontman Grian Chatten, who narrates his way through this record like an Irish Joe Strummer, never once dampening his voice and resulting in a hugely visceral sound in the process. And while national pride is clearly a strong element of their overall sound, this isn't an album of Celtic cliches and tales of the Emerald Isle. Instead Fontaines D.C. aim to represent the true sound of modern Ireland, launching themselves into political prose and societal dialogue, all wrapped under this guise of modest production in order to give their message as much prominence as possible.
Not since the heyday of bands like The Smith and Idlewild have we heard such a powerful and exciting debut release that seems so focused on its own state of the world. Throw in a tenacious and uncompromising punk aesthetic and we probably have one of the best debut albums of this year so far. Not a bad start for these young newcomers.