16. Lasertom – Drift
Simon Cullen’s slow motion disco project goes deep into the source on debut album Drift.
An exploration of cosmic disco taking inspiration from in elongated slowed-down disco samples and analogue synths makes for a fruitful album of electronic grooves.
Lasertom’s cosmic disco discoveries are yet another example of Ireland’s musicians deeper aspirations for dance and electronic music. Drift allows you to do just that.
15. Ghost Maps – The Ocean & The River
A meticulous debut solo album from Jeff Martin.
“Ghost Maps takes rich arrangements of guitar, synths, strings, piano and percussion, pairing it with Martin’s vocals. The title track embodies all of those characteristics along with some background vocals and comes across as the album’s theme song. Elsewhere, there is the more drama-laden ‘The Morning Echoes’, previously-posted contemplative track ‘Vanilla’, whispery The National-esque ‘Future Portraits’.
‘If I Knew Where It Was I’d Be There’ is an instrumental that dedicates its time to beautiful piano tinkling and rising cinematic instrumentation, ‘Fade’ has a folk-pop lean and ‘The Valley’ is reminiscent of American alt-rock acts like Slint.
14. Halves – Boa Howl
Intricate, esoteric and beautiful otherworldly second album.
“Boa Howl is a record in love with detail. It pines for the forgotten, for a more regal approach to writing and capturing. It hides in plain sight, layered with threads that only make themselves known should you choose to seek them out. Shorn of overt digital sheen, its scratches and tiny imperfections are as important to the structure as everything else.”
– Dave Hanratty, State.ie.
13.Cat Dowling – The Believer
Former Alphastates singer returns with an excellent debut solo album.
“Dowling’s authorative and expressive voice leads proceedings which generally favour a live band feel employing guitar, piano and violin rather than Alphastates’ style electronica.
“The Believer has a zip and pep to it. There’s no room for meandering when six tracks on the album are under three minutes. The result is a pleasing collection of songs, that sound like the convicted work of a singer and musician making the kind of music she wants to make.”
12. Girls Names – The New Life
Belfast band’s second record loses the jangle-pop and maker deeper connections in alternative guitar music.
“If you think in terms of colours (no synaesthesia required), then the discography of Girls Names would evoke austere tones; drab greys, pale blues and dark browns. The New Life is much more detailed: pitch blues, powder greys and mahogany browns. I know it’s journalistically pretentious to compare sound to colours but the point is, those nuances have been amplified, expanded and made distinctive.
“Emphasis is on creating a mood over its tracklisting than singling out individual songs. It’s rather languid compared to previous releases but the bleakness is more evocative than anything they’ve done.
“But it’s not all doom, gloom and looking at your shoes. There are many moments of captivating sonics; whether it’s the burst of angular guitar in ‘Drawing Lines’, the psychedelic swathes that envelope ‘Occultation’, the restrained energetic tones of ‘Notion’ or hypnotic arrangement of ‘The New Life’ to name several.”
11.Pearse McGloughlin and Justin Grounds – Idiot Songs
A shared love of Dostoevsky produces a fine collection of “electronic chamber” music.
“The catalyst for the collaboration was a shared love of 19th century Russian author Dostoevsky, particularly his novel The Idiot and that influence gives this excellent release its impetus.
The lyrics are inspired by the book’s plot and passages as far as I can tell (I have not read the book) and as such are imbued with a thematic purpose that lends McGloughlin, the main singer here, an urgency previously not heard.
The music has a cinematic nous that drawing from such a rich source material can provide. Opener ‘The Courage Of Truth’ uses an autoharp and a violin to establish a very Russian introductory scene, while electro-acoustic arrangements are the main descriptor throughout.”