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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Fionn Regan
The End of History
Lost Highway

Rating: 9/10 ?

August 7, 2007
Fionn Regan, an Irish singer from Wicklow, has been called "Ireland's answer to Bright Eyes." While both singers favor quiet, acoustic songs and introspective lyrics, it would be more fitting to compare Regan to Nick Drake, the sad folk singer who died in 1974, than to the songwriter from Nebraska.

Like Drake, Regan employs a distinct finger-pricking style when playing guitar and carefully enunciate cryptic lyrics sung in a baritone - and sometimes monotone - voice. Though Regan has insisted in interviews that he knew little of Drake before journalists started pointing it out to him, the similarities between the two is undeniable. Regan's album, The End of History, was released in Ireland to rave reviews last summer, and more recently it has been shortlisted for his homeland's prestigious Nationwide Mercury Prize.

With a little patience, the delayed US release of The End of History could make Regan one of the most notable newcomers this year. A lot of the album's songs don't jump at the listener immediately - there aren't any obvious hooks - but, especially when filled with percussion and backing vocals from Laura Murphy, they can prove exceptionally rousing and exhibit remarkable staying power.

Patience, however, is key in digesting an album that plays like a map of Dublin - confusing, beautiful and more intimately known with each revealing turn. The songs don't have obvious meanings or metaphors, Regan instead preferring to fill the songs with dense statements that remain open enough for interpretation.

"Step out of your dress and I'll wear you like a hood," he sings in "The Underwood Typewriter." In the next song, "Hunters Map," he seems to be running away from something or running to someone as he sings "I'll meet you by the mill/ depression's in your neck/ he's just keeping you in check."

The fluid "Hey Rabbit" is filled with imagery of coin disposals, worms, a mattress, billboards, the beach and shells. Without any clear meaning, Regan ends the song, "Well I made you rich, and you made me poor."

"Black Water Child" picks up the pace of the album, but becomes surprisingly dark as Regan sings about the winter, bare trees, "devil's flowers," and broken bones.

Armed with only his guitar, a droning voice, the occasional percussion and violin, Regan's quiet songs slowly become forceful. What the Irishman lacks in uniqueness - and by the end of the album it hardly matters that he kind of sounds like Nick Drake - he makes up for in enough other ways. It may not spring from the gates with a baited hook, but after a few listens The End of History simply starts to sound like Fionn Regan.

Reviewed by Sheila Burt
A contributing writer for LAS based near Chicago, Illinois.

See other reviews by Sheila Burt



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