Fontaines D.C. Announce New Album, Share Anxious Lead Single “Starburster”

Fontaines D.C. will take Romance on the road for a world tour starting this summer, with headlining dates to be announced in the coming days | Theo Cottle, courtesy of the artist

Grammy-nominated Irish five-piece Fontaines D.C. have announced their debut release on XL Recordings, Romance. Their fourth album and the follow-up to their acclaimed 2022 LP Skinty Fia arrives on Aug. 23, and the music video for intense lead single “Starburster” is out now.

The London-via-Dublin quintet—Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass) and Tom Coll (drums)—worked with producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz) to keep developing the hard-charging post-punk sound they first established on their 2019 debut Dogrel. “Starburster” folds hip-hop, electronic and even orchestral elements into its mix, parlaying a panic attack Chatten suffered in London’s St. Pancras station into one of the band’s most singular tracks.

Over woozy Mellotron and Coll’s boom-bap beat, Chatten’s layered vocals—fast-paced raps at the forefront, underlaid with a droning loop of “It may feel bad”—evoke a mind overloaded with anxiety. Twitchy guitar riffs and piercing synths ramp up the intensity, then a delicate interlude dials it back, placing a pretty piano figure and strings beneath Chatten’s baritone reflections. The refrain, spiked as it is with rhythmic gasps, hits hardest at the song’s end, like the relentless continuation of a vicious cycle.

The cinematic “Starburster” video, directed by Aube Perrie (Megan Thee Stallion, Harry Styles, The Hives), captures the track’s sense of dread and anxiety both visually and aurally. While quick cuts push the pace and characters bear disfiguring wounds and unnerving disguises, inhaler pulls further punctuate the track’s percussion and in one instance, the instrumental drops out entirely.

Deegan says of Romance in a statement, “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 Dogrel. The second album [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.”

Chatten cites as an influence Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s immortal Akira, specifically the idea of “falling in love at the end of the world. The album is about protecting that tiny flame. The bigger armageddon looms, the more precious it becomes.” Adds O’Connell, “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.”

Fontaines D.C. will take Romance on the road for a world tour starting this summer, with headlining dates to be announced in the coming days. The band will also play the Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds Festivals, as well as an extensive series of European shows. Find their complete tour itinerary below our Fresh Squeeze playlist.

“Starburster” is now streaming ahead of Romance’s August release.

You can hear new music from artists you won’t hear on commercial radio, including Fontaines D.C., on our Music Discovery radio station, The Independent on 89.9 HD4 in jacksonville and streaming everywhere here.

Romance Tracklist:

01. Romance

02. Starburster

03. Here’s The Thing

04. Desire

05. In The Modern World

06. Bug

07. Motorcycle Boy

08. Sundowner

09. Horseness is the Whatness

10. Death Kink

11. Favourite

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