Fontaines DC are front-and-centre of a surge of Dublin bands that you will know by the end of this year. Along with MELTS, The Murder Capital and Pillow Queens, they are leading a guitar-based insurgency in the wake of the not insignificant tremors first created by Girl Band a few years ago. Fontaines DC have a lot to live up to in terms of the hype surrounding them, which is invariably being likened to the buzz that surrounded The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys before their stars went supernova with the release of their debut albums. For sure, Fontaines DC have worked hard in the last couple of years to establish such word of mouth clamour, yet Dogrel highlights not only why they are being name-dropped by every hipster around these parts, but also the limitations that the post-punk oeuvre has in terms of stretching and challenging the audience. For the most part, the album sears with sharp-witted tales of urban life set to a tense and restrained musical background but there is a waning of the insistent energy towards the album’s end.

No doubt many reviewers will lump Fontaines DC in with bands like IDLES, Shame and Protomartyr, and on the first few listens these comparisons seem justified. Yet dig deeper and there is a more historic feel to this album which sees Fontaines DC not simply likened to their contemporaries, but having a much closer affinity to the bands of the lineage they are continuing. The production of the album places it aurally within the boundaries of classics of the genre, bands like Joy Division, Seventeen Seconds-era The Cure and Gang of Four are the peers of Fontaines DC and they will fall or fly on this – the album is a near-masterpiece out of time or a calculated slice of nostalgia to coax original post-punkers to like what their kids are listening to.

‘Big’ opens the album, a song which surely by now everyone reading this is aware of (somewhat disappointingly, six of Dogrel’s eleven tracks have already been released). A heavy rush of drums and bass in the song’s intro serve to illustrate the urgency that enriches the listening experience of this album. Singer Grian Chatten’s spoken word delivery in his broad Irish accent will see obvious comparisons to bands like Sleaford Mods, but there is more heart and warmth in Chatten’s soul which comes through in the tone of his voice as well as the lyrical content. ‘Big’ is about Dublin – “a pregnant city with a Catholic mind” – and is a rallying call for the reclamation of the city for those whose “childhood was small.” There is a sense of self-fulfilling prophecy here, as if the band are reassuring themselves of their own impending majestic ascendancy, a theme which runs through the album as the song’s narrator is very often an observer but rarely a participator in the Dublin life which is being chronicled. TS Eliot and James Joyce are cited as influences for the lyrics of ‘Too Real’, which are delivered in a stream of consciousness manner and it is such elements as these which separate Fontaines DC from the other bands they will likely be lumped in with. On the evidence of Dogrel there is a degree of intellect which is lacking in the work of many of their supposed peers. No doubt class warrior Jason Williamson will find issue in these young upstarts’ university education – bless ‘im.

‘The Lotts’ is a tune which should be enough for most people to realise that Fontaines DC are not a one trick pony with its slower, ponderous pace which feels like early period The Cure trying to write an Interpol song. There are other influences on this album other than the obvious angular post-punk ones. On ‘Too Real’, for instance, the guitar work in the verses has strong echoes of Sonic Youth while ‘Chequeless Reckless’ has a Ramones style riff running through it.

There are low points on the album. ‘Liberty Belle’ (which has already been released as a single to much acclaim) seems tired and formulaic in the context of the album, whereas the opening guitar riff on ‘Boys in the Better Land’ is too jingle-jangle C86 in style and stands out like a sore thumb filled with pus. Album closer ‘Dublin City Sky’ has a folk inflection to it and bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘Dirty Old Town’ by The Pogues in tone. It is easy to see the appeal of this type of track, but it left me cold as it felt like a damp squib of a way to finish off Dogrel and it is a shame that the weakest three songs here close proceedings.

Dogrel is a fiery album – one which grabs you by the scruff of your neck from the start. The pace and exigency of the album’s opening tracks is infectious so maybe it is no surprise that a band so early into their career find it hard to sustain the quality across the full album. Fontaines DC are indebted to the sounds of the past, while reconstituting them to say something very prescient about the now.