Music: Messiah J and the expert * * *
From the Word Go (Inaudible Records)
The Dublin duo must be truly bored about being described as the country's only half-decent hip-hop outfit, but Ireland isn't exactly producing much by the way of competition in this genre.
Mind you, the pair -- now on album number three -- have always been keen to throw other influences into the pot too with pop, rock and psychedelia providing alternate soundscapes for their sometimes compelling rap. Delorentos even make a guest appearance.
Messiah J's lyrics touch on all manner of subjects, but he's at his best when he offers a warts-and-all commentary on the country's alcohol obsession and there's a starkness to his take on domestic violence.
Unfortunately, the good songs only arrive sporadically and there are all too frequent moments where the pair's mojo seems to be found wanting.
Their second album earned them a Choice Music Prize nomination two years ago. But with an unusually high number of fine domestic releases this year, they are unlikely to make the cut this time.
Burn it: Megaphone Man