METRO IRISH ALBUMS OF THE YEAR by Eamon De Paor.
Following the success of Floating (famously covered by The Raconteurs), Richie ‘Jape’ Egan fretted be would become a one-hit wonder. He responded with his finest album yet. Bursting with killer beats and hooks, Ritual is both musically sophisticated and heart-on-sleeve emotional. Its centrepiece is the wistful ballad Phil Lynott, perhaps the loveliest song Egan has written.
Pony Club – Post Romantic.
Not to be confused with god-awful nu-ravers New Young Pony Club, this Dublin outfit is a long running vehicle for singer-songwriter Mark Cullen. Something of a sink-estate bard, his latest album cuts and pastes tender ectro pop and social commentary.
Oppenheimer: Take The Whole Midrange And Boost it
In a just world, Belfast’s Oppenheimer would be all over the airwaves. Keyboard-thunking duo Rocky O’Reilly and Shaun Robinson have patented a near perfect mix of New Order synth-rock and Neptunes-style production ballyho. The result? A sweet alt.pop triumph that demands to be danced to.
David Holmes: The Holy Pictures
Who could have guessed David Holmes was such a softie? The Holy Pictures casts the Belfast DJ/ soundtrack impresario as a sensitive soul with a sweet voice and a belly-full of heartache.
Chronicling his 1970s childhood and inspired by the recent passing of his father, the record is perhaps the high-point of Holmes’ career
Chequerboard: Penny Black
Recorded in Sligo, where Chequerboard’s John Lambert spent a year on a music
fellowship, Penny Black is an exquisite blend of Berlin ambient techno and folk. Despite its brooding and melancholic air, the record is never dreary. Lambert’s use of spry beats and twitchy acoustic guitars ensures that, even when the mood is heavy, there’s something interesting going on.