BIMM Dublin’s debut student-composed compilation album is an excellent listen. ‘Songbook: Volume One’ is a healthy variety of genres, and is rich in musical and lyrical gems.

For those of you who don’t know, the popular music college BIMM (Brighton Institute of Modern Music) launched its Dublin branch on Francis Street, Dublin 8 in September of last year. Ireland’s finest musical talents are offered a four-year degree in Commercial Modern Music and specialise in one discipline: guitar, bass, vocals, drums or songwriting.

To promote the course, BIMM Dublin has launched a compilation album of original songs by their most promising students.

Des Garveyopens the album with his track ‘The Builder’. A suitable choice for track one, Garvey’s clever tune is satisfyingly twangy with a nice Latin-American progression.  For fans of Arctic Monkeys’ newer stuff.

Katie Nimmofollows. Her offering, ‘Waves’, aches with gorgeous melancholy. Her genuine wording and steady rhythm stand strong. Nimmo is an accomplished songwriter with an ear for rhythmic hooks.

Callan Qualter’s ‘Arguing’ is pulsating bliss, and is as catchy as be-damned from the get-go. Qualter masters a mouthful of words and executes his composition brilliantly.

‘Weekend Friend’ by Brendan McGlynn has become something of a BIMM anthem since he performed the track at BIMM Dublin’s Live and Lyrical gig at the Workman’s Club, February 2 of this year. The recording is just as brilliant. McGlynn offers a healthy dose of funk to the album. Very memorable.

Oisin Furlong’s‘Moon’ is beautiful. It will break your heart and captivate you. Furlong is the master of unpredictable lyrics.

Next isClare Ann Varley – and Jesus, can this woman write catchy hooks. Varley’s ‘Lullaby’ echoes in the mind for some time after the first listening. Perfectly sweet. Evidence that less certainly is more.

Loman O’Neill’s ‘Nothing’s New’ is heavy but undistorted.  It serves the album well, and swells with raw, harmonic energy.

Steven McCann ups the volume and tempo with ‘Better Off Without You’. McCann shows his admiration for expertise guitar-playing and Beatles four-part harmonies. A simple track, ‘Better Off Without You’ displays instrumental craftsmanship – just listen to that riff and McCann’s solo.

Cian Tisdalepursues with some dreamy pop. ‘Mirror’ will seduce you into a sleepless dream. I have a thing for rhyming couplets (“asunder…wonder”) – ‘Mirror’ is a personal favourite.

I wasn’t taken byGary O’Reilly’s ‘Girl of My Dreams’ when I first heard the track performed at Live and Lyrical (Workman’s, 2 February 2012). But it works so much better on the BIMM album. O’Reilly’s track latches to your memory – a clear advantage for any pop specialist. For those of you of a nostalgic disposition, ‘Girl of My Dreams’ will take you back to the days when Busted were kings.

Joey Gavin is next. ‘If your moons lay Empty’ is admirably mature and evolved. Gavin proves to be a rounded songwriter and musician. If you like the National then maybe you’ll like this.

James O’Connor’s ‘To be Happy’ is the penultimate track. A simple but beautiful song, O’Connor’s composition is suitably accompanied by a rising string section. O’Connor means what he sings.

Locan O’Dwyercloses the album in high spirits with ‘Warning Signs’. A fantastic metrical mash-up, if you listen to Alabama Shakes then listen to ‘Warning Signs’.

“Songbook Volume One” assures listeners that the future of Irish music is in safe hands— and you will be maddened with jealousy when you remember that this is what these guys do in college.

Writing songs sure beats the hell out of writing essays.

Buy or stream the album here: http://bimmdublin.bandcamp.com/