The Livelong Day (Rough Trade Records)
Over the course of three albums, the four-piece Dublin band, formerly known as Lynched, have rapidly grown in stature to become the most significant Irish band of our times. Brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat have an uncanny knack for creating music that has its roots in Irish trad music, yet sounds not only contemporary but radical. The opener, ‘The Wild Rover’, is recast as a ten-minute, drone-fuelled epic that builds with Peat’s singular voice in grainy close-up as the music floods around her with intensity. It’s a career high point, although the other seven tracks aren’t far behind. This is folk music as vital and relevant as it gets, whether they’re retooling tradition or adding to it with their own strikingly original compositions.