From first listen, Fontaines D.C.’s Dogrel centerpiece rattles you to the core. Frontman Grian Chatten isn’t a just singer here -- he’s an evangelist, a carnival barker, a swaggering dispenser of deadpanned musings on the identity of Northern Ireland, based on a conversation he had with a Dublin cab driver who “only smokes Carrolls.” But perspective isn’t necessarily important here; on its own, the instrumental of “Boys in the Better Land” undulates forth with a bone-shaking intensity, slowing only for the shoutable, simple chorus complete with head-banging guitar and drum stabs. The song affirms the Irish five-piece as one of the new rock bands of the late 2010s with the most outward potential. We can't wait to see where they steer the ship next. -- K.R.
1. PVRIS, “Hallucinations”
In the heat of August, PVRIS dropped “Hallucinations,” the triumphant statement of an established electro-rock group realizing its pop instincts while maintaining the vicious edge that earned them a fervent fanbase throughout the 2010s. Frontwoman Lynn Gunn recently made the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, sure, but don't expect sunshine. This is still PVRIS, after all, just bigger and better than you've ever heard them. Gunn's vocals are ethereal as are the harp flourishes that sew the song together (a nod to her longtime muse Florence Welch) but this time, it all bulldozes towards a bone-rattling chorus of biblical proportions. The word “banger” is tossed around a lot these days, but damn if this isn’t it.
The single also foreshadows what we can expect from PVRIS in 2020, as the trio prepares to make its major label debut with an album on Reprise/Warner Records. Most importantly, Gunn and her bandmates -- guitarist Alex Babinski and bassist Brian MacDonald -- are crafting the type of music they've long yearned for. “We’ve always wanted to go in this direction, and we’re finally being supported to do that. I think the stars have aligned,” the frontwoman previously told Billboard. Indeed, at one point in the “Hallucinations” video, a figure is being buried alive in potting soil -- or is he being uncovered as he sprouts from it? As always with PVRIS, that intrigue is sort of the whole point. We can’t wait to see where they grow next. -- G.G.