Here’s Rob O’Connor’s ten favourite long-players released by Irish artists in 2017. As he says every year, this is just one person’s opinion – you’re free to agree or disagree as you see fit. The hard part isn’t deciding what to include, it’s deciding what to leave out. What he guarantees is that your life will be better for taking the time to listen to each and every one of these records. Give ’em a go – what’s the worst that’ll happen?!
- Aglow & Spark – Frankenstein Bolts
You’re not going to find any ‘bangers’ on the Wexford duo’s long player, released in August 2017. But you don’t need to, as you will discover lots of thoughtful and dreamy indie pop songs that you can float away on.
- Born Brief – Gypsies on the Autobahn
Breathing life into the “Irish guitar combo” genre may not have been top of the Dublin four-piece agenda, but they’ve achieved it anyway. With a collection of tunes that hint at song-crafting greatness, Gypsies On The Autobahn stamp their melodic boot on 2017.
- Pyro – Rews
Shauna Tohill and Collette Williams make a big noise. Bashed drums and face-melting guitars glued together with thick juicy basslines are the order of the day. Pyro is an impressive a debut as you’re likely to hear.
- The Meetings of the Waters – Fionn Regan
After an absence of a few years where the former Mercury Prize nominee considering jacking in the music for visual art, Fionn Regan quietly returned to the scene with a collection of pensive and highly descriptive songs. Perhaps the album closer is best ignored, but ‘Cormorant Bird’ is one of the best songs I’ve had the pleasure of listening to all year.
- Silverlake – Pugwash
Releasing an album at the year is a mad idea – you’re competing against the Christmas rush and collections like The Best of Rod Stewart Vol. 23. But Thomas Walsh (aka Pugwash) doesn’t give a fiddlers! The songwriters songerwriter, Pugwash effortlessly performs complex arrangements and catchy choruses that Paul MacCartney or Rufus Wainwright would be proud to call their own
- True Care – James Vincent McMorrow
Who expected JVM (the MVP of 2016) to release a new album a mere 9 months after his last one?! Not me anyway and the world is a better place for McMorrow defying convention and bringing out an album when he feels like it. If “organic electronica” is a genre you can’t get your head around, listen to this and realise that oxymorons do come true.
- Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine – Declan O’Rourke
An album … about The Famine … it can’t be done, can it? Yes, it can and Declan O’Rourke delivers his masterpiece in the form of thirteen story-songs set in 1840s Ireland. Heartbreak, humour, rage forgiveness – this album has it all. In 20 year, someone’s probably going to write a thesis about this record.
- A Safe Distance to Watch – Columbia Mills
If you’re a fan of reverb drenched happy/sad guitars, this is one for you. If you’re not, you should still listen to it because it’s brilliant.
- OK – Otherkin
Next time someone makes the lazy statement “guitar music is dead man”, crank Otherkin’s debut album up to 11 and tell them to f*&k off. Then dance your pants off.
- The Curious Hand – Seamus Fogarty
Imagine The Clancy Brothers liked to arse about with 808s, laptops and samplers, but still dug their trad roots. That’s Seamus Fogarty. Story songs with a singular production. Seamus Fogarty is a wizard who is never early or never late, he arrives precisely at the moment he means to.
There you have it. 10 albums that will make your life better – go listen.