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Favourite Irish albums of the CLUAS writers

Celine O'Malley's top 5 Irish albums of all time...

Bell X1 'Music in mouth'Act: BellX1
Album: "Music in Mouth" (2003)
While I loved their debut album, ?Neither am I?, I have to say their follow-up is a much more accomplished and polished affair. It combines bittersweet harmonies, dealing with tragedy with lighter moments such as ?Alphabet Soup?. Paul Noonan?s unique voice and Dave Geraghty?s prowess on just about every instrument ensure that each song delivers. Maybe the fact that they're so good live influenced my choice here, but an album that can combine the rocked out power of ?Tongue? and the delicate heartfelt ode to love and loss ?Sunflower? on the one album and succeed with both deserves recognition.

The Frames 'Dance the devil'Act: The Frames
Album: "Dance the Devil" (1999)
This was always going to be a difficult one; even as I am writing this I am changing my mind, I knew they?d feature in my top 5, but which album to pick. I?ve been a fan of theirs for years, and they?re one of the best live bands I?ve ever seen. While maybe the production isn?t as good as on ?For the Birds? I think ?Dance the Devil? has to be my favourite. There are so many classics on it including ?Star, Star?, ?Plateau? and ?God Bless Mom?, which still remain live favourites. The opening chords of ?Perfect Opening Line? bring to mind summer festivals, college days and the sweet smell of youth and freedom. It?s hard to beat the mantra of ?I want my life to make more sense? on ?Pavement Tune? as the perfect angst ridden student anthem.

Snow Patrol "Final Straw"Act: Snow Patrol
Album: "Final Straw" (2003)
New darlings of the UK critics, this Irish band based in Scotland, have been doing their own thing for years and finally the industry seems to have caught up. From the opening guitar riffs of ?Wow? to the mellower ?Run? they?re out on their own in terms of Irish acts. The album was written in the shadow of the Iraqi crisis and this influence can be felt on many of the tracks. ?Grazed Knee? is poignant with wistful violins mourning a love gone wrong. With a sold out tour of the UK and plans to play many of the summer festivals, their time has finally arrived.

The Prayerboat "Polichinelle"Act: The Prayerboat
Album: "Polichinelle" (1999)
From the opening track ?Polichinelle? the power and distinctive sound of Emmet Tinley?s voice is what shines through on this album from Wicklow band, The Prayerboat. Unfortunately the band is no longer together but you can catch Emmet playing solo gigs from time to time and if you like the album, then live he?ll blow you away. His amazing voice, hauntingly backed by sweet guitars, soars on ?Saved? and is filled with spine-tingling intensity on ?It Hurts to Lose you?. The album finishes with the piano fuelled ?In My Arms again? which starts with some beautiful opening chords and completes a brilliant album which still sounds as good 5 years after it was released.

Simple KidAct: Simple Kid
Album: "SK1" (2003)
Simple Kid, a young man from Cork, who after leaving the band The Young Offenders, struck out on his own and released this unusual but inspired debut album. What I love about this album is that it sounds different from everything else out there. From the electronic beats and robotic sounds on the first track ?Hello? and the very catchy single ?Truck On?, to ?Staring at the Sun? which rocks with strong guitars and a great drum beat and ?Drugs? with its 80?s disco feel, he certainly brightens up a music scene swamped by mournful singer-songwriters. Alongside the album his fantastic interactive website and interesting tours playing different versions of the album under the name of Simple Club, all conspire to make him one of the bright new talents for 2004.

(bullet) Allen Conlan (bullet) Anthony Morrissey (bullet) Brano (bullet) Brian Farrelly (bullet) Brian Kelly (bullet) Celine O'Malley (bullet) Chris Ford (bullet) Ciaran Wrenn (bullet) Cormac Looney (bullet) Donal Griffin (bullet) Dromed (bullet) Gav Reilly (bullet) Hugh Tynan (bullet) Jimmy Murphy (bullet) Jules Jackson (bullet) Ollie O'Leary (bullet) Stephen McNulty (bullet)

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