Villagers win best Irish album Meteor Choice Music Prize

The Original Rudeboys Irish song win ‘amazing’

Conor O’Brien of the Villagers playing at the Meteor Choice Music Prize in Vicar Street, Dublin on Thursday night. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Conor O’Brien of the Villagers playing at the Meteor Choice Music Prize in Vicar Street, Dublin on Thursday night. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 00:41

Villagers were awarded the Meteor Choice Music Prize for best Irish album of 2013 with their record Awayland last night.

In 2010, the band were hotly tipped to win with their acclaimed debut Becoming a Jackal , but that award went to Two Door Cinema Club.

The success of Awayland in winning Ireland’s premier music prize will be a popular choice. Like its predecessor, it received good critical reviews and also went to the top spot in the Irish charts. It was also nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize.

Lead singer and songwriter Conor O’Brien spent a year writing the album, before the band spent five weeks recording it in a studio in Donegal. It is regarded as having a much more expansive sound than their debut album.

O’Brien, widely hailed as one of the finest Irish songwriters of his generation, thanked the audience at Vicar Street for listening to “my weird little songs”. He described Awayland as “not better but different” from its predecessor.

Villagers have won a €10,000 cash prize and the likely boost to sales that comes with the award.

Ten albums were shortlisted for the honours.

The judging panel was chaired by Irish Times contributor Tony Clayton-Lea and included The Irish Times arts editor Laurence Mackin and columnist Una Mullally.

Clayton-Lea said the standard of entries had been particular high this year and Ireland continued to be a “repository of great music”.

Last night’s event featured seven of the 10 shortlisted acts playing live.

The event was temporarily disrupted when a fire alarm went off during the set by Little Green Cars, who were also nominated.

Dublin acoustic rappers The Original Rudeboys won the Meteor Choice Music prize Irish song of the year 2013 with Never Going To Walk Away . The song was only released at the end of November.

“This is pretty damn amazing,” said guitarist Robert Burch. “It is pretty special when you come up against some of those other guys,” he said before thanking radio stations for playing the song.