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Favourite Irish albums of the CLUAS writers

Ollie O'Leary's top 5 Irish albums of all time...

My Bloody Valentine 'Loveless' (1991)
Not only the greatest Irish album ever but quite possibly the most amazing record ever made, certainly the most incomparable. It?s not just the exhilarating ?glide guitar? innovations but the vocal melodies are just as wondrous. Amidst this thrilling noise, it must be remembered there is majestic songwriting here. One album that you can truly truly get lost in, just let it overwhelm you time and time again. Amazingly, if it were released today it would still be like nothing you?ve ever heard. Perhaps never to be equalled in scope or affect. Incredible.

Rollerskate SkinnyRollerskate Skinny 'Horsedrawn wishes'
Sharing the innovative spirit of ?Loveless? this overlooked classic is a stunningly original work. Layered guitar has never been more compelling. The lyrics are just as richly textured. What might seem initially like drug-induced ramblings hold within them multi-coloured insights. A wall of guitars that blister and burn, irresistible percussion and bass, genius futurepop melodies and some damn weird effects combine to create a sound that takes you hostage and makes you bleed with a dark bliss. A giant achievement.

My Bloody ValentineMy Bloody Valentine 'Isn't Anything' (1991)
In many ways a more direct hit than ?Loveless? but still resolutely experimental. Rampaging power guitar gems thrust here, infused with flaming distortion and relentless punk drumming, then sweetened with stunning vocals. The vocal melodies really are special, they are what hoist this record to the gods. The dark side of My Bloody Valentine is evident throughout but especially on tracks like ?No More Sorry? and ?All I Need?, with the music bravely oblique and defiantly intense, forging a path for the transcendent likes of ?To Here Knows When? and ?Sometimes? on ?Loveless?. An album that will steamroll you into submission.

Mumblin' Deaf Ro' 'Senor, my friend...' (2003)
A debut home-recorded work that dazzles with talent throughout. Each one of the ten folk-tinged songs is instantly memorable, and branded with a refreshing individuality. Ro?s guitar picking is sublime, his playing coloured with purposeful expression. The vocals are warm, charming and effortlessly melodic, with lyrics both imaginative and moving. Additional musicians play some written parts, with arrangements that are often glorious, but it?s on the one guitar - one voice songs ?Every Now And Then She Gets A Moment?, ?The Hero Is A Graduate? and ?The Ballad Of Lonesome Ray James? that the album gleams brightest of all. Timeless sentiments, gorgeous songs. Truly a record to cherish.

Harvest MinistersThe Harvest Ministers 'A feeling mission'
The underrated Ministers? finest hour. The songs are beautifully crafted and they blossom through a beguiling band sound. Will Merriman?s expressive, gently creaking voice is the shining thread through bittersweet songs that carry a universal essence throughout. ?A Drowning Man?, with its sumptuous violin and unforgettable melody, has to be one of the finest songs ever penned by an Irish band. The guitar riffs on ?An Inopportune Girl? and ?Modernising the New You? are ridiculously alluring. Death ballad ?She?s Buried? in unapologetic in its sparseness and awful grief - it?s a song Nick Cave could cover. ?Happy to Abort? and ?Dealing with a Kid? are essentially solo Merriman songs and make you wonder why he needed a band at all, so convincing is his delivery. This album is beaded with wonders. A mature pop treasure.

(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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