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Fontaines D.C. sign to XL; new album Romance & new video ‘Starburster’

Fontaines D.C. sign to XL; new album Romance & new video ‘Starburster’

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FONTAINES D.C. 2024 photo credit Theo Cottle

The band’s fourth album is out August 23rd on the label.

‘Starburster’ is the first song from the record, and a video was released today, after a video by Aube Pierre with a pig and singer Grian Chatten was teased last week, along with a Shining-themed video clip.

The track has a fresh feel for the band, with Grian Chatten telling BBC Radio 1 it was inspired by seeing Blur last year in London, and it is suggested to be their “most assured, inventive and sonically adventurous record yet.”

The song was also inspired by a panic attack lead singer Grian Chatten suffered in London’s St Pancras station, hence the sharp intakes of breath heard on the track.

Romance was produced by James Ford, not like the band’s previous records which were made with Dan Carey.

Earlier today, they announced a white label test pressing version for sale for 24 hours on XL’s site. / Pre-order the album.

Live dates will be announced shortly.

Fontaines D.C. – Romance Tracklist

  1. Romance
  2. Starburster
  3. Here’s The Thing
  4. Desire
  5. In The Modern World
  6. Bug
  7. Motorcycle Boy
  8. Sundowner
  9. Horseness is the Whatness
  10. Death Kink
  11. Favourite

About Fontaines D.C. – Romance

ROMANCE is Fontaines D.C.s most ambitious, expansive record yet, its 11 tracks constellating ideas that have been percolating among Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass), and Tom Coll (drums) since they released Skinty Fia in 2022.

These ideas crystalised while touring the U.S. and Mexico with Arctic Monkeys as the five band members shared music and found a throughline with artists that deftly build out their own sprawling creative worlds: the attitude and aesthetic sheen of artists like Shygirl and Sega Bodega, the bolshy sonic palettes of the likes of Mos Def, A$AP Ferg, OutKast and The Prodigy.

They had time apart to build more singular visions for what future music could be: O’Connell went to Spain’s Castile-La Mancha and later became a new father, while Chatten spent time in LA, and Deegan in Paris. They laid deeper roots in London.

Each member spent time pushing their boundaries – experimental riffs, chord progressions, and far-flung lyrical references without intentions for a record. After wrapping up the US arena tour in Autumn 2023, they spent a month writing together again, three weeks of pre-production in a North London studio, and a month in a chateau close to Paris, sleeping among studio equipment, completely immersed.

Of the album’s title, Conor Deegan says, “We’ve always had this sense of idealism and romance. Each album gets further away from observing that through the lens of Ireland, as directly as (Mercury Prize-nominated debut) Dogrel. The second album (the GRAMMY-nominated A Hero’s Death) is about that detachment, and the third (Skinty Fia) is about Irishness dislocated in the diaspora. Now we look to where and what else there is to be romantic about.”

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Expounding on the theme, Chatten recalls Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s anime Akira, where the embers of love develop despite a maelstrom of technological degradation and political corruption around its characters.

“I’m fascinated by that – falling in love at the end of the world,” he says. “The album is about protecting that tiny flame. The bigger armageddon looms, the more precious it becomes,” while O’Connell adds “This record is about deciding what’s fantasy – the tangible world, or where you go in your mind. What represents reality more? That feels almost spiritual for us.”

The sonic evolution of the band, who bared their teeth in early records with antagonistic punk sensibilities, is an ascent into grungier breaks, dystopian electronica, hip-hop percussion, and dreamy Slowdive-esque textures that may surprise fans.

The shoegaze touchpoints first pressed on Skinty Fia unfold on ROMANCE like a purpling bruise. But any “retro aesthetic”, as Chatten describes it, is left behind. Reflecting on the impending release, Chatten says, “We say things on this record we’ve wanted to say for a long time. I never feel like it’s over, but it’s nice to feel lighter.” The fantasy is felt for better or worse, and Fontaines D.C. welcome either end of oblivion.


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