Heady, funny, and fearless, the Dublin band’s second album is a maudlin and manic triumph, a horror movie shot as comedy, equal parts future-shocked and handcuffed to history.
The Horsemen of the Apocalypse do not thunder and gallop. They lurch and stagger, weighed down by the grim burden of their brief. Slowly, they stalk humanity with an Amazon Prime package of grief, war, and pestilence, their approach suggested only by the mechanized drone of social media and cable news. When the end finally comes, it’s all so quotidian and tedious; a whimper, not a bang. All around us, the party is ending, and Fontaines D.C. are the final house band. The setlist is A Hero’s Death.
Slinking seeming fully-formed from Dublin’s working-class neighborhood The Liberties, the five-piece established themselves as bona fide inheritors of a centuries-long socialist-bohemian tradition on 2019’s post-post-punk document Dogrel, an album that weaved together the enduring groove of Gang of Four and the psychically dislocating poetry of Allen Ginsberg with unnervingly precocious aplomb. Dogrel was a shouty revelation—part early Mekons, part cider-addled James Brown & the JB’s—all of it suggestive of a crucial talent abuzz with live-wire intensity.