REVIEW: Grian Chatten – Chaos for the Fly

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Since the release of 2018’s, ‘Dogrel’ Fontaines DC have become one of the hottest bands on earth. With a number one record under their belt and tours that almost instantly sell out, it’s a matter of when, not if, they make that step up to arena level.

Now, its frontman Grain Chatten’s time to branch out on his own and deliver his first solo outing, ‘Chaos for the Fly’ a beautiful, sprawling album that showcases just why Chatten is one of the best lyricists of his generation.

Opening up the album is lead single, ‘The Score’. It leads in with an ominous bassline that brings with it a sense of dread. Rather than the anthemic post-punk of Fontaines DC, ‘Chaos for the Fly’ sets itself a part by feeding off this sense of claustrophobia. Soon the acoustic guitar and Chatten’s crooning vocals break out turning the track into a truly beautiful ballad, with the vocals in-particular carrying a mesmerising sense of power and control.

This is continued within the next track, ‘Last Time Every Time Forever’, with it incorporating a string section, epitomising Chatten’s growth and maturity as an artist.

‘Fairles’ is the standout track of the album with a raucous acoustic lead in that takes inspiration from traditional Irish folk. The piano that tinkles throughout the verses allow the vocals to demonstrate their full power, with lines such as, “they make you look at sunshine that your skin will never feel” coming at you with gut-wrenching force. Chatten is a poetic tour-de-force.

Both, ‘Bob’s Casino’ and, ‘East Coast Bed’ pay homage to Chatten’s hometown of Skerries. With the former being particularly poignant as it struggles with the beauty and tragedy of small town life. “He drank away his sins, he never said goodbye” is a truly devastating line that sums up the conflict that clearly exists in Chatten’s mind when talking about his home town.

‘Season for Pain’ closes out the album in what is the most downbeat, bleak offering on the album. It’s dark and almost troubling to listen to with slow, repeated acoustic riff that provides the anchor for the rest of the track to swirl around. “If you have nowhere to go, get used to the rain” is delivered with a heart-breaking bluntness and honesty. As it draws to a close the track becomes a nightmarish piece of electronica, beeping away whilst Chatten’s vocals become distorted and unintelligible.

‘Chaos for the Fly’ is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a truly captivating piece of work that is tailor-made for Chatten to showcase his poetic excellence. Despite being a melodically captivating piece of work, the album lives and dies by its lyrics and Chatten delivers with his most personal and poignant piece of work yet.