This year I aim to hear every Irish album worth hearing. Therefore when the Choice Music Award comes around next year, I’ll know each album intimately. Also, if they’re stuck for a judge, I’d definitely be interested! The debut album from 202s is one that could well feature on the shortlist in 2010.
The album opens with ‘Shoot You Down’ which is like a Bruce Springsteen-infused Arcade Fire. Yes, I am using those two as a comparison for an Irish band. I haven’t heard an opening track this good from an Irish band since ‘Heyday’.
All the songs seem instantly familiar, like you’ve heard them countless times before. 202s have taken elements from many of their influences, and made a stellar record. ‘Ease My Mind’ sounds like it could turn into ‘Song 2′, but instead settles for a sound somewhat like early Bell x1 (when I preferred them, they’ll never top that second album).
It’s not all the same sound throughout. ‘Shine On’ is a song of ethereal goodness, and leads the latter half of the album to be much more Mercury Rev sounding than the first half. This is particularly true of ‘Repeat’ and closer ‘Goodbye, Good Evening and Good Night’.
‘Who Cares About Sunshine?’ defies its title and is a lovely summery melody accompanied by great harmony vocals. The whole thing has this uplifting feel and is one of the best Irish debuts in an age. It’s up there with the Fight Like Apes record.
I recommend that everyone buys it.