Having done wonders for dozens of Irish acts in recent years, Dublin producer Stephen Shannon has decided to work his magic on himself. With an emphasis on the tender and upbeat, Strands' calming properties are considerable, and nearly always instant.

Apart from a looped voice on one track, it's all instrumental and the feeling that you're experiencing the musical equivalent of the toys coming out to play at night rises up many times.

As low key as it is charming, this record is another reminder of how far Irish music has come in the last decade, and the unsung heroes who have helped get us to here.

Hopefully Shannon can find more 'me time' in the schedule very soon.

Harry Guerin