Sometimes Conor Deegan III wishes he had a 9 to 5 job.

“Coming home to a child and being there for them,” says the bassist of Irish post-punk band Fontaines DC. “I don’t want to be an absent father.”

Expats remember home: Irish group Fontaines DC.Credit:Filmawi

But he’s not a dad yet – and rock ‘n’ roll is calling him. An international tour of the band’s third album Lean fia will attract the Dublin quintuple led by Grian Chatten to Australia in February next year.

The album is steeped in the alienating experience of trying to settle in foreign places. Deegan, 28, and his bandmates, including drummer Tom Coll and guitarists Carlos O’Connell and Conor Curley, are all expats.

Deegan, who is currently between gigs in Malmö, Sweden, moved to Paris in the summer of 2020. “We’ve always been the kind of people who romanticize Ireland, romanticize Dublin,” he says. “We wanted to keep everything we could, even though we had left Ireland itself and moved to England, France, New York and other places. It’s the question of, what can you take away and bring with you and what do you want to leave behind? That’s a lot of what this album is about. It’s an album of expatriates, you know, of emigrants.

Ireland, for the band, is a lover, a nurturer, sacred to their identities. Ireland is, as the title of their opening track suggests In ár gCroíthe go deo“In our hearts forever” (the song refers to a true story of Irish expat Bernadette Martin who wanted the Gaelic words inscribed on her mother’s gravestone in England, but the church insisted on adding a translation English – she called the song “amazingly haunted”).

Deegan – who dreams of starting a family – moved to London again two months ago but had barely had time to absorb it before the tour pulled him from home. It’s been non-stop work since the group’s debut album in 2019 Dogrel, a critically acclaimed, Mercury Prize-nominated smash affair that earned them comparisons to IDLES and Joy Division. Their poetic, dark and beautiful second album The death of a hero in 2020 earned a Grammy nomination.

“We had an ambition, after our second album, which was to show what we could do outside of the ‘post-punk’ framework…we had always written songs that were ballads, a bit slower, [and] we wanted to show that we could do it with the second album. This led to an album that was quite sprawling in tone and [made us] kind of hard to recognize. We wanted a much more consistent record.

Lean fia it’s rock’n’roll with a warm, beating heart. He was influenced, says Deegan, by the classic Primal Scream XTRMNTRthe bass lines of Kim Deal’s Pixies and English DJ Roni Size.