Conor J. O’Brien may have both the countenance and the annunciation of one Conor Oberst, but I say this; Villagers is better than Bright Eyes. Much betta. The Irishman and his lyrics are wonderfully decipherable and relatable, but they’ll make you shiver all the same. And while O’Brien might gaze and strum a guitar, he has no qualms about reaching over and turning the synthesizers on full, or even calling the drum section to kick it up 3 notches. Let’s take the opening track of Becoming a Jackal “I Saw the Dead” for example: sleigh bells, concerto violins and then an in your face piano melody will warm, then sooooothe you. Until the end, that is.
I bet you’ve never nearly jumped out your seat while listening to a song. It will please you to no end.
Or “Ship of Promises” where a Battles type rhythm ebbs and flows to finally conquer the whole.
Each song on the Villagers album will send you to a different place of quiet (or not so quiet) contemplative energy. It’s amazing.
(Becoming a Jackal is available now from Domino Records)