FONDA’s No Begonias EP is heart-stirring, soul searching brilliance

Limerick’s FONDA make nuanced and emotionally mature records. Their debut release, the Brian Kelly (So Cow) recorded Social Services EP, came out in 2015 and introduced us to songwriter Liam O’Connor’s laidback croon and ability to suspend the listener’s heartstrings in that sweet spot between longing and resignation.

A follow up single, Dreaming, came in 2016 along with this gloriously casual retro video and, once again, highlighted O’Connor’s knack for wrapping poignant heartfelt depth in the kind of deadpan post-punk pop that fans of Crystal Stilts will recognise and enjoy.

It’s been a long wait but FONDA’s latest offering is very much worth it.

The No Begonias EP has been put out through Straight Lines Are Fine and features a new lineup of John Ahern (Hey Rusty), Paul Cosgrave (Slow Riot) and Sean O’Mahony (Inner City Radio). Produced by Chris Quigley (Cruiser) and mixed by Micheàl Keating of Bleeding Heart Pigeons, the record is instantly gripping and anthemic. O’Connor’s majestic baritone soars over urgent guitar, thundering rhythm and unrelenting bass while Ahern’s melodic hooks are made all the sweeter by their moody surrounds. It sounds truly epic – huge and warm and dark and joyful and brooding.

Gritty storytelling has been a strong point of FONDA’s previous releases and O’Connor’s lyricism is as affecting as ever, drawing us into a complicated world of inter-personal drama and life-changing psychological events. Characters are glimpsed, elusive moments almost understood and surging emotions invoked with masterful empathy and a silver-tongue.

From the opening brace on the eponymous first track:

“Oh no my heart is broken, how dare I say the words. Hope no-one hears me sing of romance or modern love”

Through to second track, This Way Out:

“I’m second best, the thirst of my life. I’m over-fed and I am underdressed in your eyes… am I OK to give it up, this special feeling from it? I’m not sure how simple that is.”

To the final moments on the last song of the EP, Beside Yourself:

“I feel so intoxicated when you’re not beside yourself with hate for me”

O’Connor’s writing is full of romance, self-deprecation and thought provoking sentiment. It is what sets FONDA apart and keeps you coming back for more – a world you want to be part of, if only as a tourist living vicariously for and in the moment.

No Begonias is a triumphant heart-stirring, soul searching beaut of a record and a welcome return for a quite brilliant songwriter.

Have a listen below and check FONDA out over on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

Music from the west of Ireland