We brought you entertainment.ie's Top 10 Albums of 2016 the other day, and now it's time to look closer to home.
It's been a solid year for Irish music, with a number of well-known names returning to the fray and some debuts making big impacts, too.
See below for our Top 10 Irish Albums of 2016.
1. Cathy Davey – 'New Forest'
Welcome back, Cathy Davey. We missed you and 'New Forest' was worth the six-year wait. An album that intertwined themes of nature and animals with personal stories of love and life, it was swept up in the kind of melodies and consistently interesting musical sidesteps that Davey is so innately brilliant at. Just a great album.
2. All Tvvins - 'llvv'
This Dublin duo's electro-indie-rock debut has been several years in the making, but it lived up to expectations in a thrillingly fast-paced, excitable manner. LLVV is a collection of huge, slickly-produced anthemic tracks built for mass singalongs, done well and without resorting to tackiness. That's harder than it sounds, y'know.
3. The Divine Comedy – 'Foreverland'
Neil Hannon remains one of Ireland's best, most succinct and most reliable songwriters who makes writing humorous, heartfelt piano pop look easy. (It's not.) His return after a six-year gap (and another Duckworth Lewis Method album) with this beautiful album of tender love songs and pop whimsy done as only he can was a huge grower for us.
4. Bleeding Heart Pigeons – 'Is'
The weirdest band to come out of Limerick in.... well, ever, probably, this young trio's debut was a mad concoction of influences, all spun together in a throb of bass, synth and offbeat rhythms – yet simultaneously stuffed with melody. It was probably a little too long, but it was one of the most intriguing albums to pass through our speakers all year.
5. Little Green Cars - 'Ephemera'
Little Green Cars have done a lot of growing up over the last few years.Having lost people close to them and gone through various break-ups and life lessons, the Dubliners set their course for a moodier, darker follow-up to the superb 'Absolute Zero'. It's undoubtedly less immediate and less bustling with multi-part pop harmonies and upbeat melodies than its predecessor, but it showed real depth and was a convincing display of why the quintet remain one of the best bands in the country.
6. Lisa Hannigan – 'At Swim'
For her third album, Lisa Hannigan got dark. The Kildare woman proved that she's more than the sum of a few 'lovely' and 'nice' songs, defiantly shrugging off all notions of tweeness with this Aaron Dessner-produced collection of shady grooves like 'Undertow' and the slow, funereal waltz of 'Prayer for the Dying'. Her voice has also never sounded better.
7. Rusangano Family - 'Let the Dead Bury the Dead'
Irish hip-hop is in a great place right now, and it got a whole lot better in 2016 thanks to this Limerick/Clare trio and their second album (or their first as Rusangano Family). An eclectic, vibrant musical soundtrack, some razor-sharp, often laugh-out-loud lyrical wit and some thought-provoking tracks like 'Isn't Dinner Nice' make this a hugely engaging album from start to finish. They, and it, should be celebrated more widely.
8. Katie Kim – 'Salt'
You'd be forgiven for having forgotten about Katie Kim. We don't mean that in a cruel way – but it's been four years since the Waterford native's last album and she's not what you'd call prolific in terms of live performances. It's fitting, then, that she returned with this superbly understated album that takes time to burrow under your skin but leaves its mark once its there. Retaining the same lo-fi, late night ambience as her previous fare, Salt is at times cinematic, atmospheric, eerie, moving and all things in-between.
9. James Vincent McMorrow – 'We Move'
James Vincent McMorrow is a man who's going places – we already knew this after his second album Post Tropical made a big impact internationally. His third saw him work with some big-name producers like Frank Dukes (Drake, The Weeknd) and TwoInchPunch (Sam Smith, Years & Years) and the resultant album was an undoubted step up and a move into slicker, synthier, sexier sounds. The clue is in the title: this is an album to move to, groove to, get freaky-deaky to. Whatever you're having yourself.
10. September Girls – 'Age of Indignation'
Irish music needs a band like September Girls. Does Irish music realise this? Probably not. There's a lot to be for a guitar band that actually has... well, something to say. The Dubliners came up trumps with their second album, a smattering of squally, noisy, krautrock-y, loud, angry, righteous songs about life in modern Ireland, life as a woman in modern Ireland, politics and more.
Honourable mentions: Bell X1 - 'Arms'; Wallis Bird – 'Home'; Seti the First – 'The Wolves of Summerland'; I Have a Tribe – 'Beneath a Yellow Moon'; The Gloaming - '2''; Lisa O'Neill – 'Pothole in the Sky'.
Hear a playlist of entertainment.ie's Top 10 Irish Albums (plus honourable mentions) below: