We love a good wallow in nostalgia, and the recent circumstances have meant that we've been returning to old favourites for comfort more than usual lately.
It got us thinking about the numerous Irish bands and artists that we wish were still making music together. It also got us thinking about the numerous Irish bands and artists that we wish would just split up, but that's an article for another time.
We've done the international version; now, here are five brilliant bands that we'd love to hear more from. Heck, we'd even settle for seeing them playing live together one more time.
We know, we know. Conor O'Brien has done very well for himself under the Villagers banner, and we're huge fans of his work. As you may recall, however, the band that came before Villagers were very special in their own right. The instrument-swapping art-pop quartet released a couple of EPs, played some fantastic gigs, released a debut album ('In Towers and Clouds') that still stands up 14 years later, and then split not long afterwards. In some ways, we're grudgingly thankful that their legacy remains untainted. And at least we have the memories of those gigs.
This may be a contentious one for some, given that The Thrills got a seriously bad rap in some quarters for being posh southside types. That doesn't change the fact that Conor Deasy and co. had some absolutely cracking indiepop songs, particularly on their first album 'So Much for the City'. If your heart doesn't leap at those harmonies on 'Don't Steal Our Sun' or 'Big Sur', you probably take yourself waaaaaay too seriously.
We're showing our age with this list, we know.For a small part of our adolescence, JJ72 were 'our' band – we wrote their name on our schoolbag, religiously attended every gig and played their self-titled debut album (released 20 years ago – yikes!) to death. It – and they – still hold a special place in our heart, even if the prospect of them reuniting now is slim to none. Frontman Mark Greaney is a tutor at Dublin music college BIMM these days, while original bassist Hilary Woods is making her own very interesting (and very different) music. Still, what we wouldn't give to hear them playing songs like 'October Swimmer' and 'Snow' live once more.
REPUBLIC OF LOOSE
They were best known for their biggest hit 'Comeback Girl', but Republic of Loose were so much more than one-hit wonders. The Dubliners were unlike any other Irish band that had come before; brazenly pilfering from their American funk, hip-hop and soul influences but packaging it into something that was distinctly Irish. In Mik Pyro, they had a frontman with swagger and charisma, not to mention a hell of a voice. Pyro has his own solo project on the go, but we'd love to see this band together once again.
MESSIAH J AND THE EXPERT
Irish hip-hop has come a long way in the last few years, but these guys were trailblazers. MJEX made some brilliant hip-hop with MC John Fitzgerald (aka Messiah J) and Cian Galvin (The Expert) on the decks. For some reason their back catalogue isn't on Spotify, but their album 'Now This I Have to Hear' is well worth seeking out. Blending thoughtful, sharp and witty lyrical observations with a brilliant soundtrack, we'd love to hear their take on the world today. In the meantime, The Expert released his excellent second solo album 'Excursions' last year.