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16 For 16: Cian Nugent

Cian Nugent by Cait Fahey

Our feature profiling sixteen Irish acts we’re absolutely certain will do special things this year, we continue 16 for ’16 today in the company of Dublin’s Cian Nugent. Words by Mike McGrath Bryan. Photo by Cait Fahey

Cian Nugent has undergone a profound and constant evolution since debut album ‘Doubles’ arrived in 2011. From acoustic explorations, through drone and psychedelia, Nugent arrives at Night Fiction, showcasing new sounds and a newfound focus on songcraft and simplicity. Shock of all shocks, Nugent even sings on his new full-length, releasing on the 29th on WOODSIST Records.

In his debut as a singer-songwriter, his voice is an honest, almost conversational baritone with a singalong lilt, whose earnestness is almost alarming, but also adds a new dimension to Nugent’s music, as best seen on relaxed leadoff single ‘Things Don’t Change So Fast’. Said transition never feels like a intrepid venture into bold new territory, though: Nugent’s nature is of complete confidence in his work and in his abilities, at once just as challenging as ever, and yet, easily accessible.

Nugent’s band The Cosmos have joined him on tracks here, so never fear, but Nugent lashes into his solo material with hitherto unseen vigor, taking in folk-rock confessionals and punk’s fringes & beginnings, while maintaining his trademark virtuosity. It’s a combination that has seen him get the come-to-bed eyes from the likes of Uncut & NPR and landed him with support slots in Europe for the likes of Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo. With a big year in front of him in support of Night Fiction that will take in US touring among other dates, expect 2016 to be a banner year for the ever-changing guitarist. Mike McGrath Bryan

Contributor, distributor & occasional Cork correspondent for The Thin Air, as well as, Cork's Evening Echo and others. Likes some things, dislikes other things. Tweets, Instagrams and Snapchats at @mike_mcgb.