Grian Chatten - Chaos for the Fly
Wandering into chaos
“What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This philosophical sentence, inviting to put things into perspective, is taken from The Addams Family. It inspired to rock band Fontaines D.C.’s leader, Grian Chatten, the name of his debut album. Fly-wise.
As if to espouse disenchantment of a life caught in a spider’s web, the voice, as drawling as can be, gives body to the 9 melodies which make up this album. Sometimes at the limits of tune ("Last Time Every Time Forever") but always careful to his sustain at the end of verses. That’s the style. You can see either some Pete Doherty or some Leonard Cohen. The low-pitched tones ("Bob's Casino") leave room to female backing vocals (from his fiancée Georgie Jesson), reminding me of the female voices of Belle and Sebastian.
Every now and then tunes of Irish traditional kind come and the Pogues don’t seem very far away ("Fairlies", "Salt Throwers off a Truck"). The violin lies in ambush. One cannot deny his origins – even though the man who grew up in a musician family in North Dublin is now living in London – and his thick accent to cut with a knife is here to remind you. His way to pronounce 'but' especially, I can’t get over... and I think I adore it.
And then "All of the People". Aaah what a song! This deliciously misanthropic disillusionment should be listened to religiously. You should take it all, until the last drop, the slightest breath of his voice. Impossible to get out of your car before it’s over.
But what am I hearing? Is it a slow dance? Does it still exist!? It does! And a very good one ("I am so Far"). Still melancholic and seeking an ideal. The singer-songwriter tells this solo album was designed in a period of depression and doubt about his mental health... and writing and recording it fortified him. Farewell to chaos, the fly has got the power!
In this section I’m obliged to highlight "Season for Pain". This beautiful song could have stopped at 3:31. It doesn’t; it’s been extended by an appendix, which brings it to its 4:34. And closes the album an unexpected way with the only electronic touch of the record, thanks to an analogic synthesiser called Swarmatron.
Should this appendix be added? You tell me! Personally, I still haven’t decided.
And something else I’m wondering, about the opening piece, "The Score", the shortest: what score is he talking about? I couldn’t find the answer. Anyway, it’s a good score (!)
All of the People
Season for Pain
“Kindness is a trick to turn you strange” ("Fairlies")