Top 10 Irish Albums of 2012

It's great to be in reflective mood looking back on the year of album reviews and basking in the fact that Ireland produces some fantastic music. It was tough to choose a top 10 and even more difficult to order them! Big thanks to these artists and their team for allowing me to review their albums!

10. Sive - We Are Moving

What I wrote: The band realise that Sadhbh's vocals and lyrics are to be kept to the forefront so there's rarely a misplaced guitar solo or overuse of drum cymbals  My favourite track off the album is 'Piece of my Mind'.


9. Master & Dog - Self-titled

What I wrote: There's a nice 'Americana' feel from some of the tracks. 'Bare Cedar' is a lovely delicate song full of charm and atmosphere. It's one of my favourite Irish songs of the year. The other track to appeal to me is 'All Hell Broke Loose' with it's fine vocals and gripping lyrics. Lead vocals on the album is shared by Walter, Phil & Ger so there's real diversity on the album in terms of vocal styles. Lyrically this is one of the best albums of the year.


8. I Am Not Lefthanded - The Fire & The Sigh

What I wrote: The songs are characteristically 'I Am Not Lefthanded' with Kathryn's vocals shining throughout over well written subtle indie pop compositions which compliment the vocals and lyrics. 'Brace Brace' kicks off the album in fine style with lyrics describing that feeling of new adventures. 'Return' is such a wonderful song while the catchy 'No Time' has become my regular earworm over the last few days.


7. Mossy Nolan - Self-titled

What I wrote:  This album is a celebration of the trad and folk that's deep within our culture. From the instrumental jigs of 'Two Flats One Pump' and 'Swedish Jigs/I Met Betty Kelly' to Ewan MaColl's 'Tunnel Tigers' and Liam Weldon's 'Dark Horse on the Wind' this album aims to simply celebrate the folk genre in it's purity and showcases the songwriting and vocal talents of Mossy Nolan.


6. Suzanne Savage - Jellymould

What I wrote: The album, recorded in 2011 in Karslruhe, Germany is in the main a pop album with flashes of jazzy keys, effective string sections and rockabilly throughout. Standout tracks include the first single 'Dart', the title track and the jazzy pop sound of 'Just Fine'. For me the best song is the folk love song 'Somewhere in Between' which showcases' Suzanne's soothing and effective vocals.


 5. Heritage Centre - Alright, Check It Out

What I wrote: Every track on the album is quality with my favourite track changing on every listen. Recent single 'Oldest Friend', 'You Are Something' and 'All in the Way' stand out for me on this listen but frankly I can skip to any track and I'm going to hit a quality track 


4. Eric McGrath - Little Ripples 

What I wrote: The album is brimming with gentle charming songs which are well written tales of hope, love, potential and compassion. There's not a note or lyric out of place on the whole album and I've struggled to find a single negative aspect anywhere on 'Little Ripples'.


3. Marc O'Reilly - My Friend Marx*

What I wrote: There really isn't a bad song on the album. Even the anti-war song 'Lord of War' doesn't make me cringe! For me the album hits the high point around tracks 6,7,8 with Narrow Street, Tell Old Joe and Family Reunion.

*Released in 2011 but only review on 2uibestow in early 2012 and released in the UK this Summer.


2. Autumn Long - Drown the Truth

What I wrote"Drown The Truth" is a passionate album of thirteen great tunes which provides almost 50 minutes of the best folk/rock songs I've heard in a long time. ....... I get the sense that this album was a labour of love for songwriter Padraig and that it's been a good number of years in the making. Every song on the album is of the highest quality with meaningful lyrics and passionate vocals.


1. Michael Brunnock - The Orchard

What I wrote:  The thirteen songs are immense deep and often personal songs. The themes within the songs concern change, new beginnings, hope, love, companionship, fairytales, circle of life etc. This is a serious album of great and powerful songs that work! It proves to me what a powerful healer or meditative tool a great collection of songs can be.