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The Shires and Niall Horan lock horns in race for number one album

Country music duo The Shires have pulled ahead.

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Heartbreak Weather is the second studio album by Niall Horan (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Heartbreak Weather is the second studio album by Niall Horan (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Heartbreak Weather is the second studio album by Niall Horan (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The Shires and Niall Horan are in a close race for this week’s number one album.

The British country music duo are currently in the lead with their fourth studio album Good Years, although the former One Direction star is just 55 chart sales behind.

Irish singer Horan reached number three in the UK with his debut album Flicker, and is hoping for a number one with the rock and roll-tinged follow-up Heartbreak Weather.

BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park – London
The Shires at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park, London (Ian West/PA)

The Shires, however, scored the fastest-selling UK country album in history with their second record, My Universe, according to the Official Charts Company’s mid-week update.

But the duo of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes have so far failed to top the charts.

Outside of the race for number one, Liverpudlian outfit Circa Waves are at number four with Sad Happy, while Scottish indie four-piece The Snuts are at number seven with their Mixtape EP.

Electronic dance music producer Four Tet is on course to earn his second top 40 album with the ambient-influenced record 16 Oceans, which is currently at number 22.

PA