So it’s that time of year again. We’ve got team GP into their ballot boxes and each of the writers and photographers submitted a top 5 Irish albums of 2012 and we tallied up the votes, and this is the result.
The worst things about lists like this one is seeing the great albums that didn’t quite make the top 10, there were so many great albums released in Ireland in 2012, the country has never been producing as much great music. We even felt at times that we were always saying the albums we received were great, and that we weren’t critical enough, but in truth, the quality of albums submitted this year really have all been excellent.
With that in mind, this is Team Goldenplec’s Top 10 Irish albums of 2012. We hope you agree.
10) No Spill Blood – Street Meat
Heavily instrumental, it begins like an 80s Russian Spy movie, before Hedigan’s vocal and bass performance create an altogether more furiously epic piece. It weaves in and out of ghostly phasers, before bringing this EP to a premature end. [Review of No Spill Blood – Street Meat]
10) Adrian Crowley – I See Three Birds Flying
Some could quibble that the downbeat tone is too much for an entire album, but it’s hard to see how a light, airy number would even fit on here. Plus, if you’re in the mood for some gloomy music, that’s generally your mood for at least the length of an album. If there is one criticism it’s with the arrangements; plenty of haunting strings and nice guitar plucking but little else beside. How about a heavy, relentless piano in there from time to time? But that’s a small enough complaint. If you like your singer songwriters to come with a dark edge then you will like this. You will like this a lot. [Review of Adrian Crowley – I See Three Birds Flying]
9) Windings – I Am Not The Crow
Every now and then we hear the machinations behind the music; studio chatter in moments of silence, a hint at the organic nature of the recording process. The live experience of “five guys playing the shit out of their songs onstage” has paid dividends, and this band is locked together tighter than a duck’s hoop. Flying by in forty minutes but seeming like less, ‘I Am Not The Crow’ is a sonically layered blend of pathos and power chords, and a band at its cohesive best. [Review of Windings – I Am Not The Crow]
8) Croupier – Croupier
The musical arrangements are all over the place and yet fit together wonderfully. The way the vocals adapt and synchronise to the progression of the songs is refreshing and clearly thought out, but feels effortless. Croupier are clearly an insightful group of musicians, and if they continue to follow this path there is no reason why they shouldn’t fulfil their huge potential. [Review of Croupier – Croupier]
7) The Riptide Movement – Keep On Keepin’ On
Every aspect is of an incredible high standard from the drumming, to the lyrics, to the productions itself. If the E Street Band released a compilation album ditching Bruce and drafting in Lemmy from Motorhead to do vocals, the result would be ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, a gem of an album. It would be a surprise if The Riptide Movement don’t see themselves nominated for a Meteor Choice Award next year. [Review of The Riptide Movement – Keep On Keepin’ On]
6) Funeral Suits – Lily of the Valley
Funeral Suits may have a sorrowful name, but their sound benefits from uplifting undertones. Doing the whole morose ‘thing’ causes them to blend into the landscape, another band that teenagers who wear black hoodies like to listen to. That’s cool and all, but Funeral Suits have so much more to give, and ‘Lily of the Valley’ is just a stepping stone to the big reveal. [Review of Funeral Suits – Lily Of The Valley]
5) BATS – The Sleep of Reason
The unfortunate thing for BATS is that, like a lot of the science that they talk about, they won’t get the attention they deserve: they will more likely be drowned out by louder, crasser voices that spit nothing but rhetoric and cliché. Let’s hope that this is not the case because ‘The Sleep of Reason’ is a truly fantastic album… though things like that were said about Thomas Midgley Jr in his lifetime. [Review of BATS – The Sleep Of Reason]
4) Heathers – Kingdom
‘Kingdom’ is a brilliantly brave album from Heathers. It’s refreshing to see a band not stick to the same formula which made them a success in the first place. Such a radical transformation can be seen as a gamble but, in this case, it couldn’t have been more worth it. They manage to maintain the core harmonies that made them so unique while seamlessly blending in, not only the backing of a full band, but also their new found love for electronic sounds. True to what they proclaimed in that kitchen in 2007, Heathers have spiced things up. Long may it last. [Review of Heathers – Kingdom]
3) Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
Even the most dedicated of music fans will admit that when listening to an album for the first time, they’ll often skip songs that don’t instantly capture their imagination. ‘Beacon’ is an exception. Each and every song keeps you on your toes as the Northern Irish trio jump between several styles in a glorious game of indie-roulette. It’s that sense of unpredictability that was the key to the success of Two Door Cinema Club’s debut album ‘Tourist History’ and with this record they’ve remained on form. Add in a heavy dose of experience and a pinch of sophistication and you’ve got yourself a recipe for world domination. [Review of Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon]
2) Delorentos- Little Sparks
The sound is more ambitious; bigger and bolder, with a less pop feel. Some of the more tender songs on the album show just how much Delorentos have matured as songwriters. “Little Sparks” is a wonderful return to form and hopefully won’t be the last album we hear from them. [Review of Delorentos – Little Sparks]
1) The Cast of Cheers – Family
Our album of the year, and based on the voting patterns, the most widely enjoyed album across our team, comes from Swords electronic dance superstars The Cast of Cheers. We have been blessed with this album for most of 2012 and have danced multiple times to many of its tracks at their live shows. This is a band who have made waves around the world over the past year and rightly so with the romping, stomping, dance epic that is ‘Family’, a record that certainly doesn’t suffer from second album syndrome.
If it’s not the impressive vocal arrangements, the jagged guitar with the pulsing effects pedals behind them or the beautifully rhythmic beats that draw you in, it will be Family’s ability to just make you get up and enjoy yourself. [Review of Cast of Cheers – Family]