Hank Fontaine is a restless soul, perpetually existing as both citizen and student of the world in a lifetime of transience as a touring musician. One casualty of this nomadic existence, however, is a sense of emotional intelligence, which he addresses in the jaunty New Wave track Cut And Run.
“Cut And Run is my attempt to acknowledge my own failings in my past relationships,” Fontaine muses. “…I guess by writing about my immaturity, I can procrastinate about – you know, actually addressing it.”
Fontaine’s sound is impossible to pigeonhole, and he likes it that way. There are echoes of retro influence, particularly in Fontaine’s guitar licks, but his wry, sardonic lyrics, reminiscent of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart, are firmly rooted in the 21st century Tinder chat experience, and his horror at the prospect of morphing into a “Reddit finance bro” during quarantine.
“When I’m bored or in a bad mood, I make up false narratives and watch them play out in my head,” Fontaine says. “At one point last year, I started talking to a past romantic interest of mine who historically wasn’t very nice to me, and I realized that I played a role in that. I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to being treated poorly, and that’s something I’m working on. So I guess this song is like my way of acknowledging that I was treated badly.”
After four years as half of sibling duo The Fontaines, and resetting his path with a couple of singles, Hank Fontaine released his first solo album: 2019’s The Globalist Agenda or: Welcome To Frogtown. Living in New York City during the pandemic has only deepened Fontaine’s determination to bring authenticity to his craft, encouraging others to follow suit. Like countless others, he’s embraced the New Normal and used it to his creative advantage.
“I find it oddly freeing that the music world feels so dead right now. Like, nothing matters, might as well put out recorded music since it’s all just being tossed into a massive void of noise anyhow. I do think that my newer songs will be better suited to a live context though, when that comes back.” Fingers crossed.
The self-recorded track was entirely produced by Fontaine himself out of necessity (and frugality). He plans to release a full-length album (including Cut and Run) this year. “Whatever comes out of a home recording is singularly “you,” he says. “So whether someone listening likes a song of mine or not, they can get a clear sense of who I am.”
Check out Cut And Run on Bandcamp: