You couldn’t put a finger on when it happened, but how did we become so attached to place? Rather than just wandering around the planet, as a species human beings now mostly associate themselves with a patch of dirt, draw an imaginary wall round it, call the things that happen there culture and threaten to kill anyone who wants to do anything to either.
A bit extreme, ok. but Skinty Fia – the third and final chapter of a musical triptych laid down by Irish quintet Fontaines DC – is largely about place, or places. There’s the church and cemetery of In ár gCroíthe go deo, or In Our Hearts Forever, the noisy neighbouring flat of The Couple Across the Way and I Love You’s coruscating open letter to their home country, now forsaken by them for London.
The latter is a song portraying the feelings of many who go into battle and end up wandering what exactly it is they’re fighting for. But in the band’s self-confessed mission to protect something they can’t define they’re making the most powerful, thought provoking music of their careers. Further than ever away from Dogrel‘s misfit indie rock, Grian Chatten and co are now boldly unafraid to incorporate passages that evoke long revered outfits like The Smiths (on I Love You) or Joy Division (Bloomsday).
However the narrow minded might think about their mass relocation, we now find a group re-energised, the title track borrowing from goth-ravers Death In Vegas, whilst Roman Holiday, Jackie Down The Line and closer Nabokov layer atmospheres, gut punch and crawl inside your head in differing measures. Skinty Fia takes you places, but not ones you can plant a flag on. Even if you don’t speak it’s language, you should go there anyway.
You can read a full review here.