Romance,” released on August 23 via XL Recordings/Beggars, is the band’s first album with producer James Ford and without a doubt their most confident, inventive and sonically adventurous record to date.

With the announcement, the band shares the lead single “Starburster”. Inspired by a panic attack lead singer Grian Chatten had at St Pancras station in London, the song is punctuated by sharp, wild breaths. The strong rhythm and unrelenting lyrics depict self-destruction as a fantasy. But then, as the drums stop, there’s a brief moment of clarity, Chatten moving from near-rap to near-psalm, his baritone rich and dreamy.

A cinematic video has been released for the song, directed by Aube Perrie (Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles, The Hives). Watch the video below.

Romance” is Fontaines D.C.’s most ambitious and expansive album to date, bringing together 11 songs already brewing with Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass) and Tom Coll (drums) since releasing Skinty Fia in 2022. While touring the US and Mexico with Arctic Monkeys, these ideas came to fruition. The five band members shared music and discovered a common denominator with artists creating their own expansive creative universes. This includes the attitude and aesthetic style of artists such as Shygirl and Sega Bodega, as well as the powerful sonic palettes of genres such as hip-hop and heavy metal, inspired by artists such as Mos Def, A$AP Ferg, OutKast and Korn.

They took time to separately develop their own visions of what future music could look like: O’Connell went to Castile-La Mancha in Spain and later became a father, while Chatten spent time in LA and Deegan in Paris. Establishing themselves more firmly in London, each of them explored new possibilities by experimenting with riffs, chord progressions and deep lyrics, without specific intentions for an album. After wrapping up the US arena tour in the fall of 2023, they spent another month writing together, three weeks of pre-production in a north London studio and a month in a castle close to Paris, sleeping among studio equipment, completely submerged.

About the title of the album, 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.”

Expanding on the theme, Chatten recalls Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s anime Akira, where the sparks of love develop despite the abundance of technological decline and political corruption that surrounds the 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 does reality represent more? That almost feels spiritual for us.”

Initially known for their distinctly punk style on previous albums, the band’s musical development has evolved into rougher breaks, dystopian electronic sounds, hip-hop rhythms and dreamy textures reminiscent of Slowdive, which may come as a surprise to fans. The shoegaze touchpoints first pressed on Skinty Fia unfold like a bruise on “Romance.” But any “retro aesthetic”, as Chatten describes it, is left behind. Looking back on the upcoming 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.”

Tracklist “Romance”
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


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