The thirteenth renewal of the Choice Music Prize takes place at Vicar Street on March 8. Across the ten nominees for Album of the Year, there is a healthy equipoise of genres. It has a mixture of seasoned performers and budding stars offering sumptuous debut albums.
It is no surprise that the folk journeymen Fionn Regan showed up on this list with his critically acclaimed album The Meeting of the Waters. Fellow venerable singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow can boast a fourth nomination with True Care. His unmistakable falsetto has become a staple in Irish music.
Perhaps the boldest and heaviest record on the list is Fangclub’s self-titled debut – a storming collection of rock songs lathered in distortion. Similarly, indie rock revivalists Otherkin brought some raw energy this year, earning themselves a spot with OK.
David Kitt’s intriguing detour is appreciated here. Under the new moniker New Jackson, he released From Night of Night, an assemblage of dance/deep house cuts. Another stand-out LP is Between the Earth & the Sky by Lankum – a band who have been described as a ‘experimental psychedelic-folk-punk duo’.
Talos’s first release Wild Alee – a trendy electronic pop album – would be a popular winner. Marlene Enright’s debut solo effort Placemats & Second Cuts is a worthy contender – a dulcet, vintage listen. Elsewhere, Come On Live Long’s In the Still has an eclectic sound palette and if you’re looking for some affecting synthpop, Ships’ Precession really fits the bill.
So there really is something for everyone in this year’s nominees and trawling through them is a excellent way to find some of the Irish musical talent you may have missed over the last year. On the same night, the Song of the Year will be awarded, which you can vote for on the 2fm website. Chasing Abbey, Wyvern Lingo and Niall Horan are just some of the artists that have been nominated for it.
Adam Bielenberg – Music Editor