Delorentos sparkle to win top prize

Julie Feeney sings among the audience at the Meteor Choice Music Prize event in Vicar Street, Dublin last night. photograph: dara mac dónaill

Julie Feeney sings among the audience at the Meteor Choice Music Prize event in Vicar Street, Dublin last night. photograph: dara mac dónaill


Dublin band Delorentos have won the Meteor Choice Music Award for album of the year 2012. The band’s highly-rated third album, Little Sparks, has scooped the €10,000 prize, beating albums by The Cast of Cheers, Damien Dempsey, Two Door Cinema Club and Julie Feeney.

The Meteor Choice Music Prize was held last night in Dublin’s Vicar Street, where nine of the 10 nominees performed, including sisterly duo Heathers, Limerick band Windings and Wicklow singer-songwriter Wallis Bird. Belfast band Two Door Cinema Club, whose second album, Beacon, was nominated, were unable to appear due to touring commitments.

While the acts performed onstage, an 11-strong judging panel of rock cognoscenti, chaired by Irish Times music journalist Tony Clayton-Lea, went into conclave to choose the winning album, as a sell-out crowd of avid music fans waited for the white smoke to appear. The event was compered by Today FM DJ Paul McLoone and broadcast live on the station.

Three of the nominated acts, Two Door Cinema Club, Feeney and Crowley, were past winners. Jape are the only act to have won the prize twice.

Delorentos were favourites to win, thanks to the huge acclaim for their album. Their prize was jointly provided by the Irish Music Rights Organisation and the Irish Recorded Music Association. The band also received an award to put on their mantelpiece.

Delorentos formed in Dublin in 2005, and have since built up a loyal fanbase and critical kudos. Their debut album, In Love With Detail, was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in 2007. Many critics have lauded their current album as their best.

Dublin singer-songwriter Gavin James won Irish Song of the Year for his tune, Say Hello. Other nominees included songs by The Coronas, Glen Hansard, Kodaline, Le Galaxie featuring Elaine Mai, The Script and Villagers. The Irish Song of the Year was chosen by the public, who voted by text and via the Meteor Facebook page.

This was the eighth Meteor Choice Music Prize, established “to encourage, highlight, showcase and promote Irish music of excellence”.

The nominated albums are not judged on how many copies sold, but purely on musical excellence. It began modestly enough as the Choice Music Prize, before Meteor came in as sponsors in 2011.

The awards have been criticised for some bizarre choices, most notably the 2007 winner, Super Extra Bonus Party, and this year’s contest drew fire for its “bland” mix of unremarkable indie albums and uninspiring singer-songwriter fare. If anything, this year’s Meteor Choice Music Prize highlights the need for more Irish artists to venture outside the cosy confines of the local music scene.