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FONTAINES D.C. • Romance • LP • Pre-Order

FONTAINES D.C. • Romance • LP • Pre-Order

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XL / Beggars Group
Release date: 23. August 2024

'Romance', released in August 2024 via XL Recordings, is the band's first album with producer James Ford and is without doubt their most ambitious, imaginative and sonically adventurous album to date. It follows on from the success of 2022's 'Skinty Fia', which reached #1 in the UK and Ireland album charts and earned the band a number of awards, including International Group of the Year at the 2023 BRIT Awards.

The explosive lead single "Starburster" heralds the latest creative (r)evolution of Fontaines D.C.. Inspired by a panic attack that lead singer Grian Chatten suffered in London's St. Pancras train station, the song is repeatedly interrupted by sharp and wild inhalations. The driving beat and relentless lyrics portray self-destruction as a fantasy, before there is a brief moment of sobering clarity when the drums drop out and Chatten moves from spitting, almost rapping vocals into a near psalm, his baritone full and dreamy. The song is accompanied by a cinematic music video by director Aube Perrie (Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles, The Hives) that brilliantly captures the cathartic intensity of the song.

The new album's 11 tracks bring together ideas that Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O'Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass) and Tom Coll (drums) have been developing since the release of 'Skinty Fia' in 2022, while touring the US and Mexico with the Arctic Monkeys. The five band members shared their music and found a connection with artists who skillfully build their own expansive creative worlds: the attitude and aesthetic sheen of artists like Shygirl and Sega Bodega, the bold sonic palettes of hip-hop and heavy metal, Mos Def, A$AP Ferg, OutKast and Korn. They had time on their hands to develop their own visions for the music of the future: O'Connell moved to Spain's Castilla-La Mancha region and later became a father, while Chatten spent time in LA and Deegan in Paris.

They put down deeper roots in London. Each member spent time exploring their personal boundaries - experimental riffs, chord progressions and far-fetched lyrical allusions with no intention of ultimately making a record. After completing the US arena tour in the fall of 2023, they spent a month writing together again, three weeks of pre-production in a studio in north London and a month in a chateau near Paris, where they slept amongst the studio equipment and completely immersed themselves in their music.

Of the album's title, Conor Deegan says: "We've always had this sense of idealism and romanticism. Each album moves further away from looking at these things through the lens of Ireland, as directly as the (Mercury Prize-nominated) debut Dogrel. The second album (the GRAMMY-nominated A Hero's Death) is about that distancing, and the third (Skinty Fia) is about Irishness displaced in the diaspora. Now let's look at where and what else there is to be romantic about." Explaining the theme, Chatten is reminded of the anime 'Akira' by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, in which love develops around the characters despite a maelstrom of technological decay and political corruption. "That fascinates me - falling in love at the end of the world," he says. "The album is about protecting that little flame. The bigger Armageddon gets, the more precious it becomes," and O'Connell adds, "This record is about deciding what is fantasy - the tangible world or the world you move in your mind. What represents reality more? It feels almost spiritual to us."

The sonic evolution of the band, who cut their teeth with antagonistic punk sensibilities on their early albums, is an ascent to grungier breaks, dystopian electronica, hip-hop percussion and dreamy slowdive-esque textures that may surprise fans. The shoegaze touches first heard on 'Skinty Fia' continue to unfold on 'Romance'. But any "retro aesthetic", as Chatten describes it, is left behind. Looking ahead to the upcoming release, Chatten says: "We're saying things on this record that we've wanted to say for a long time. I never feel like it's over, but it's nice to feel lighter." For better or worse, the fantasy is palpable, and Fontaine's D.C. embrace both ends of oblivion.

"Romance", the band's first album on XL Recordings, will be brought to life on a world tour starting this summer with stops at the Southside & Hurricane, Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds festivals and across Europe. Headline dates in the UK and USA will be announced shortly.

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