Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Best Irish Albums of 2009

A bit late for a Best Of list, I know, but can't be helped.. Here it is, gigs/international albums to follow...

10 - 202s - 202s

Mike Glennon and Steve Melling appeared as if out of thin air with one of favourite albums of the year. Dark and brooding, with a nice dash of Primal Scream in places, and the best use of a harmonica we have heard in years. Melling is a Limerick man so we are claiming this band as one of our own.

9 - The Chapters - Perfect Stranger

An upbeat, poppy album that blew our socks off on first listen, boasting keyboard/synth-driven tones, the gruff vocals of Brian Fallon-esque singer Ross McNally, some foot-stomping acoustic-punk and four guys who can really sing.

8 - Bell X1 - Blue Lights on the Runway

Ireland’s premier indie band toured for most of the year in America, but also produced one of the best domestic albums of ‘09 - containing upbeat hits, tender, heart-breakers, an electro-beat and those classic lyrics - ‘picking the knickers from her arse, like a one-stringed harp”. Amelia was one of the songs of the year.

7 - Valerie Francis - Slow Dynamo Master

Un-heralded Valerie Francis produced a stunning album earlier in the year; an acoustic, slow-burning, multi-layered gem, suffused with harmoniums and chimes - and just the right amount of quirk. Kanye West is a fan; you should be too.

6 - Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club - The Beautiful Untrue

An achingly gorgeous album that flitted between the atmospheric sound and feel of a Parisian cafe and rollicking sea-shanty type ditties. Superb - contender for Choice Prize.

5 - The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method

An album about cricket by Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash. Should never have worked, but did gloriously. Best pop songs of the year.

4 - Adrian Crowley - Season of the Sparks

Crowley’s voice is so distinctive and his lyrics so profound that he should be the toast of the singer-songwriter circle; thankfully he’s not and listening to his latest album - his best - makes you revel in being one of but a few who know how good this guy is.

3 - ...And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

Rage Against The Machine meets Mogwai? Fair or not, this Northern Irish band are the hottest tip for next year - their music and shows both mind-blowing and ear-bleeding. Superb.

2 - David Kitt - The Nightsaver

Kittser got his sixth album out early in the year, producing an early frontrunner for best of lists. Running a mile from the acoustic-singer songwriter genre in which he was (unfairly) pegged, Kitt tapped into his Spilly Walker project and produced an innovative synth-electro delight that will have you coming back for more every time. Brilliant.

1 - The Holy Roman Army - How The Light Gets In

The most surprising album of the year. Carlow natives and siblings Chris and Laura Coffey combined to record a deliberately affecting and atmospheric album, that crackles and hisses with bleeps, piano-driven beats and sweeping orchestral tracks, heavily influenced by Massive Attack by way of The Notwist. Get it now.

(Honourable mentions: Swell Season - Strict Joy, Julie Feeney - Pages, Super Extra Bonus Party - Night Horses, Delorentos - You Can Make Sound.)

1 comment:

Mike said...

Hi Alan,

Many thanks for the kind words on the 202s album & for including us in your end of year list. Just to let you know, we're both Limerick born, bred, ,schooled & so on. No need to claim us as a Limerick band as that's exactly what we are! Thanks again & really happy you enjoyed the album. We're home for a show in Bakers on Feb 27th so would be great to see you then if you're about.

Happy New Year,

Mike, 202s.