Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Fontaines D.C.: A Hero's Death [Partisan, 2020]
As no one seems to notice because that can't be true can it, surprise success has agreed with this formerly scuffling young band. They've turned philosophical and accommodating, gentler and more melodic. In the album's title tune, where its title isn't uttered even once, the "Life ain't always empty" refrain and its attendant homilies aren't in the least sarcastic. And the opening "I Don't Belong" repeats "I don't belong to anyone" in four choruses a dozen times, adding a slight rhythmic fillip by ending each chorus "I don't wanna belong to anyone." What do they mean by "anyone"? Their punky fanbase is my guess. They're saying get with the program, fellas. Bring your girlfriend to our shows if you've got one. And if not, why not? "Love is the main thing," after all. A-