Top 10 Irish albums of 2013
WE take a look at the top ten albums of this year.
Villagers - Awayland
A masterful genre-hopping second album from Conor O'Brien and friends, it expands on the promise of an excellent debut. There isn't a weak song here as the man from Dun Laoghaire contemplates love and death. It was deservedly nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and is so much better than the album that won, James Blake's Overgrown.
Girls names - The new life
One of the outstanding guitar albums of the year from any act anywhere, this inventive, ambitious debut from the Belfast outfit gets better with every listen. It's dark too as the band channel their inner Cure and Joy Division.
Bell x1 - Chop chop
Paul Noonan et al up their game with a compelling album produced by Peter Katis, The National's long-term collaborator. Packed with ideas, and addressing our economic woes, it's an album for these times.
Cian nugent - Born with the caul
At just three tracks, this third album does not easily lend itself to the instant gratification of download culture, but those prepared to give Nugent's acoustic guitar-oriented compositions the requisite time will be handsomely rewarded. Utterly exquisite.
Come on live long - Everything fall
An auspicious debut from a quintet pulled from all parts of the country. Difficult to pigeonhole, it straddles many genres -- chamber pop, electronica, avant-garde rock -- and has little truck with prevailing trends.
Little green cars - Absolute zero
Much hyped thanks to their inclusion in the BBC's Sound Of poll, the Dublin-based five-piece certainly delivered with a catchy, commercial offering. Boy-girl harmonies and jangle guitar pop a go-go.
Chequerboard - The unfolding
This understated and melancholic offering from John Lambert unfolds, indeed, slowly and beautifully. Kate Ellis's cello helps push Lambert's compositions into the realm of the sublime.
O emperor - Vitreous
The Waterford boys pack a great deal into the album's super-brief 29 minutes and really expand their palate beyond the folk-rock that first got them noticed. Made in their own studio, this meticulously crafted work veers from intimate to immense.
Ghost maps - The ocean from the river
Damned as one of the best homegrown songwriters you've never heard of, Jeff Martin's latest project sees him eschewing with electronic flourishes for a minimalist, atmospheric album hewn out of organic instruments.
The would be's - Beautiful mess
Once hailed as the country's next big thing, the band beloved of the late DJ John Peel took more than 20 years to release a debut album. And what a jangle-pop delight it is, as Julie McDonnell rolls back the years impressively.
same cloth or not
mano le tough
and so i watch you from afar
all hail bright futures