Choice Music Prize - Who will win?
The annual Choice Music Prize is always one of the biggest and best fixtures on the Irish music calendar. This year’s shortlist aptly concentrates the vibrancy of the music landscape in this country, as breaking acts like The Riptide Movement and We Cut Corners rub shoulders with colossal performers like U2, Hozier and Damien Rice.
It can be difficult to navigate the list of nominees, to weigh one albums strengths against another, but below will give you an idea of exactly who will be celebrating come 9.30pm this evening.
Click the title of each album for a more in-depth appraisal of its chances.
What we said: He is clearly among the frontrunners for the award but ultimately the decision rests on the collective whim of the several judges tasked with appraising this year’s list of nominees over a few bottles of red and even if they ultimately decide to award the prize to someone else, you get the sense that Hozier’s ascent is only just beginning.
Will it win? In all honesty, probably and the bookies' odds of 1/2 squarely reflect this sentiment.
What we said: An almost surreally enchanting album, McMorrow’s Post Tropical will be remembered as one of last year’s best releases.
Will it win? It's definitely in with a shout and would be a worthy winner. Its odds of 4/1 seem fair.
What we said: While it does have some very heavy competition from the likes of James Vincent McMorrow, Hozier and Damien Rice, there is a nagging idea that this could be the year when traditional music is afforded its much-belated time in the sun.
Will it win? The bookies have it priced at 6/1, which makes it the third favourite. Will that be enough to topple Hozier? We'll find out.
What we said: The Riptide Movement are serious talents. While we have a feeling that one of the other names on the list will ultimately take home the prize from Vicar Street on Thursday night, we remain confident that this won’t be The Riptide Movement’s sole dalliance with the Choice Music Prize.
Will it win? It's currently priced at 6/1, tied with The Gloaming, but we can't see it coming out on top.
What we said: If they do win Delorentos won’t be the first act to have won the Choice Prize twice. Jape has previously done this for his albums Ritual and Ocean of Frequency (incidentally Richie Egan will likely be among next year’s nominees for his latest effort This Chemical Sea) and there’ll be no one inside Vicar Street on March 5th who’d begrudge them if they do end up victorious.
Will it win? It's a very strong field this year. Considering they won the Prize for their previous album Little Sparks you'd imagine that this year's honour will be bestowed elsewhere.
What we said: My Favourite Faded Fantasy, his first album in eight years, was every bit as heart-achingly stirring as the previous two. Rice, now in his forties, hasn’t lost any of the intimacy he imbibes into his music and each track on the record – particularly lead single ‘I Don’t Want To Change You’ is worthy of your closest attention.
Will it win? The first new Damien Rice album in eight years? That's definitely in with a shot, although the bookies odds of 8/1 suggest it would be a surprise if he did.
What we said: Syro appears to the work of a much more composed artist. Whereas Drukqs had an occasional tendency to alienate when James opted to explore the more bizarre fringes of his sound. Syro is more calm (relatively speaking) and serene and exposes the true innovative nature of *ahem* Limerick-man Richard James.
Will it win? No.
What we said: Sinead O’Connor is considered a lot of things by a lot of different people in Irish society and now, owing to the excellence of I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, her status as being one of Ireland’s most prominent recording artists is now, thankfully, back being chief among them.
Will it win? Paddy Power has O'Connor listed as a 10/1 underdog to win and, considering the competition, that's a fair price.
What we said: Chief among the band’s talents is their almost preternatural ability to write a belter of a chorus, a key element of practically every song on Think Nothing.
Will it win? It won't but this won't be the last time that We Cut Corners are in the conversation.
What we said: The album meanders through Bono’s early life, growing up on ‘Cedarwood Road’, and recalling memories of Joey Ramone (‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’) showing a songwriting nous that’s never left the band. Songs of Innocence is one of U2’s most personal expressions yet. And for Bono, that’s really saying something.
Will it win? It's quite unusual to see U2 as rank outsiders for the award but Paddy Power's odds of 16/1 suggest that there won't be much celebrating in Bono's Killiney home this evening.