Fontaines D.C. Skinty Fia review – a tale of toxic love

Posted on 11 January 2023
By Annabel Ostell
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Skinty Fia grabs the listener by the throat with the eerie harmonies and dark lyrics of opening track In ár gCroíthe go deo.

You feel immersed into a dystopia, while listening to this album, surrounded by deep and solemn vocals from lead singer Grian Chatten, on tracks like Bloomsday and How Cold Love Is.

Irish band Fontaines D.C. were once only recognised by true fans of the post-punk genre, however following success from their debut album Dogrel, the group have been captivating more audiences with every new release.

Now able to call themselves Grammy nominees and with a UK number one album under their belt, Fontaines D.C.’s third album Skinty Fia has creeped into our brains and imprinted its melodies and lyrics onto us.

With breathy and drawn out sentences, the overall narrative of Skinty Fia feels like a toxic love story, as if the band has a story they must tell but is so emotionally exhausted they’re pulling the vocals out of their soul with an imaginary pair of forceps.

We hear this drawl in the title track Skinty Fia with a monotone vocal throughout. Songs like “I Love You” are a 21st century example of true poetry set to music.

Lyrics such as “I love you like the penny loves the pocket of a priest, and I love you till the grass around my gravestone is deceased”… the writing of this song displays an array of passion and longing for a loving life.

You can feel this in lines like: “Makes flowers read like broadsheets, every young man wants to die. Say it to the man who profits and the bastard walks by.”

This experimental album explores different ways of telling stories, with the track The Couple Across The Way, breaking the pattern of grudgy vocals and replacing them with a clear and almost ballad-like voice.

This track focuses on the heavy use of accordion, blending with the vocals to create a nostalgic tune of love, that you could imagine would be played for audiences on a pier in a sea shanty style.

One of the album’s standout singles Jackie Down The Line, tells the story of a selfish and sadistic person. Contrasting heavily with The Couple Across the Way and showing the group’s accentuated ability to make different sounds fit well together.

The overall thought and work put into this album by Fontaines D.C. is excellent and dedicated, showing in both high production and creative performance.

Looking forward, this Dublin band are headed in a positive direction, with each album release being more successful than the last, it won’t be long before this post-punk group hit the mainstream.