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TLMT’s 10 Essential Albums of 2021 So Far…

The Last Mixed Tape picks out 10 essential Irish albums released and reviewed in 2021.

Strange Boy – Holy / Unholy

 Holy / Unholy is an album that only could be made by Strange Boy. A musique d’auteur, the words, the art and the music, are all wrapped up and informed by the creator’s experience. It’s not enough to simply borrow from existing genres or styles. Artists must impose themselves into the process. And on Holy / Unholy, there can be no doubting Strange Boy is in every second of this album. 

Kojaque – Town’s Dead

 Town’s Dead is for the lost. For a society trampled by the greed-driven machinations of others and asked to pay the price. For the potential that still thrives within and the fear of that potential not being realised. For a génération perdue, scarred and no longer willing to maintain the status quo. With Town’s Dead, Kojaque has captured not just the sound of a city but its mood.  

Saint Sister – Where I Should End

 Where I Should End is the sound of Saint Sister working on a larger canvas with a more extraordinary colour palette. Threading the needle from Shape Of Silence to now, Where I Should End highlights the duo’s ambition to add layers to their music. Colour isn’t my strong point, but Where I Should End alludes to a more vivid world through the medium of sound.  

Dani Larkin – Notes For A Maiden Warrior

 Notes For A Maiden Warrior lingers long after listening. There’s music to be found here that will rest in your bones. Dani Larkin’s songwriting reaches far within us, to a musical sense of tradition and place we all feel in the present. The past is relatable because we’ve lived it, no matter how distant. With Notes For A Maiden Warrior, Dani Larkin melds these themes perfectly. 

Senu – Jetlag

 On Jetlag, Senu paints two places at once. Melding urban concrete, bustling subways, tiring airports and the slow comedown, the artist casts figures and shapes into an album of abstract brilliance, never straying too far from view. Like most art, Jetlag makes the most sense when you look and listen a little closer. Because, within each edit, line of dialogue and stroke of paint, you might just find yourself.  

For Those I Love – For Those I Love

 Music is about creating a voice. How an artist uses that voice is what draws us in. On his self-titled debut album, For Those I Love, shouts so the world can hear, and in turn, gives us the listener the licence to view the world through his different perspective. And, that’s something that lasts, that’s something great. 

New Pagans – The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All

 The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots And All is an album that demands nothing less than your complete attention. With their debut, New Pagans make a statement of what type of band they are, do they just want to be here, or do they have no fucking choice? This album suggests the latter. 

Fears – Oíche

 Self-confrontation through sonic brutalism. Fears’ Oíche is an album that delves deep into its creator while never leaving the listener feeling stranded or apart from the meaning. A challenging album where everything is laid bare, Fears adds enough to the music and the words to create a sense of artistic catharsis. Indeed, this is a record where the music and the artist is one and the same. Fears is OícheOíche is Fears.  

Wyvern Lingo – Awake You Lie

 Wyvern Lingo returns not as we found them. Awake You Lie is a shift in shape and sound, adding an abstract layer of bold, daring and unrestrained flourishes to the group’s music. Second albums can be a tricky tightrope to walk, go too far or stay in place too long and you’ll lose your balance. With Awake You Lie, Wyvern Lingo deftly continues their path, never falling, by adding new and interesting elements along to way.

Christian Cohle – Holy Trouble

 Christian Cohle’s Holy Trouble is a monolithic in its electronic atmospherics. However, a backdrop is never enough and Cohle’s strength of voice makes for a debut album that is not only highly-stylised but also emotionally resonant. A striking first foray from Christin Cohle. 

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