From Iceland — Villagers (IE)

Villagers (IE)

Villagers (IE)

Published September 13, 2013

On Villagers new album ‘{Awayland}’ Conor O’Brien adopted an entirely different approach, re-immersing himself in youthful penchants for electronica, krautrock, funk and jazz-fusion, and creating groove soundscapes as the basis upon which to build new songs.
The results are transformative, and welcomed by O’Brien’s fellow Villagers, whose input shapes the songs much more deeply than on the debut ‘Becoming a Jackal.’ Unlike that album, ‘{Awayland}’ sounds like a band, one engaged in creating their own musical road as they walk upon it. Whether it’s buff- ing the Bon Iver-esque sheen of “My Lighthouse” with sleek harmonies, or building “The Waves” from its staccato tattoo into a maelstrom of snarling guitar, pulsing synth and sweeping orchestration, these songs fizz with the excitement of creation.
O’Brien is still the fulcrum, divining the issues covered in lyrics that seem to constantly tip themselves upside down or second- guess their direction. “Grateful Song” pays tribute to the god of misery, hatred etc, for providing a low point from which to bounce back; and the piano lullaby “In a Newfoundland You Are Free” likewise celebrates the mixture of grief and freedom offered by life’s untrodden terrain. Elsewhere, O’Brien tackles the war- ring sides of his own character in “Earthly Pleasure” and “Nothing Arrived”, “What were we hoping to get out of this?” he asks in the latter, “Some kind of momentary bliss?” But with results pleasurable, inventive and as absorbing as these, there seems no danger that the impact of ‘{Awayland}’ will be momentary.

November 1, 2013
00:50 Gamla Bío

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