Album Review: Grian Chatten // Chaos For The Fly

Fontaines D.C frontman Grian Chatten is taking leaps and bounds with his debut collection of solo material.

Filled with gorgeous lyricism and a musical direction that is considered and nuanced, Chaos for The Fly pays homage to Chatten’s Irish coastal hometown, co-produced by long-term collaborator Dan Carey.

Chatten is melancholic and reflective from the off, delivering his lines at almost a whisper at times; this sets the tone for the record and lets the listener know not to expect a Fontaines album early doors. Far from an egomaniac frontman “going solo”, it’s clear that Chatten has different ideas to explore and requires his own creative space in which to exercise them. For the most part, he pulls this off with a deft touch.

Irish and folk influences occur throughout Chaos and Chatten himself evokes the Irish greats in his work; exploring themes of Irish identity, love, and a much deeper quest for belonging in a similar fashion to James Joyce. ‘Last Time Every Time Forever’ is a fantastic slice of vintage Bowie, before the Spiders and the spacesuits, it is reminiscent of a cut like ‘Amsterdam’ which sees embryonic Bowie with only his twelve string, or Alex Turner slowing things down for his solo Submarine project.

‘Fairlies’ is a high point, with the juddering string arrangement blossoming into a fantastically heartfelt tune. Whilst ‘Bob’s Casino’ depicts the tale of a seaside town once bustling and vibrant, now faded and forgotten. The love Chatten has for his hometown is unrelenting, but he paints a visceral picture of love and loss through the rise and fall of a seaside town.

The production throughout Chaos – a joint venture between Chatten and Dan Carey – is near flawless, the two have clearly struck a wonderful creative partnership, having collaborated on every Fontaines record to date. The strings swell like the sea, and the arrangement is expertly crafted for each track. Whilst ‘Salt Throwers off A Truck’ sounds so raw that it could have been recorded in the backroom of an Irish boozer.

Overall, Chaos For The Fly feels like a necessary step for Chatten. And while this one-man show might lack some of the ‘oomph’ of an FDC project, the musicality and lyrical flair within is plain to see and there is a world of joy to be found from giving the frontman’s more sensitive, soulful side the space to blossom.

photo credit: Eimear Lynch

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Charlie Brock

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