When I was in college I had a show on the campus radio station with my buddy Scott. We would play all the normal music you might hear on a college radio station. From time to time we would get bored with what we had and would dive into the stacks of CD's the station had for a game we called Radio Roullette. Here's how it worked. Take a random CD. Put it into the CD player knowing nothing about the band other than the cover of the record. Hit shuffle on the CD player and voila you have music. The only rule was no matter how much the song sucked you had to let it play out. This led to some pretty dreadful live radio but sometimes we would get lucky. Such is the case when we stumbled across The Devlins. Two Irish brothers who had been making records since 1993, The Devlins are what is best described as a U2 knockoff. This is very common (in fact on my IPOD I have a playlist dedeicated to bands who wish they were U2) but to my suprise I kept going back the their first album DRIFT over and over again (this is the one we experimented with on the air). In fact the song "Almost Made You Smile" was the song we first played and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It's got a great chorus and a mandolin (and how can you go wrong with a mandolin).
When I traveld to Ireland in 1992 I was suprised to hear that most of the locals hated this band and so they never really got any pub in their home country. Over here they have been knocking around for a while and I hear they have a new record out. The album here is their second record WAITING. This is a bit more mature and deeper album full of acoustic guitars and plaintive lyrics about lost love. Don't get me wrong this is about as commercial as music can get. These guys have zero indie cred, but trust me, listen to the album more than once and you won't be able to stop humming thier songs. Highlights include "Waiting" (featured in Six Feet Under a few years back), "Surrender" and "Big Decision" (perhaps the only song I can think of about the dangers of plastic surgery.
(mp3) The Devlins -- Almost Made You Smile
(zip) The Devlins -- Waiting (Full Album)