Fionn Regan - Put A Penny In The Slot (Bella Union)
UK release date: 11 September 2006
For the discerning record buyer, 2006 has been the year of Bella Union. As well as a potential album of the year from Howling Bells, there's also been fine releases from the likes of Midlake and The Dears, and you can add young singer/songwriter Fionn Regan to that list now.
The sparse acoustic backing works wonderfully against Regan's voice, which inevitably recalls other folkie troubadours such as Conor Oberest and Willy Mason. It also allows us to hear the lyrics, which aren't afraid to be intelligent without sounding pompous or pretentious - who else could get away with namechecking Paul Thereoux and Saul Bellow in the same song?
The gentle folk atmosphere won't be to everyone's taste, but for anyone who's missing Elliott Smith, you could do a lot worse than check this young Irishman out.