Villagers | DNO267

Image: villagers packshot single

“Gorgeous...Just Amazing” - NPR
“expertly crafted songs and soaring vocal range” - Death & Taxes
“With fast fingers, he plucked quickly alternating chords and ballooning, hypnotic crescendos... at times–this is high praise–he approaches the bitter romanticism of Leonard Cohen.” - New York Times

"Becoming a Jackal" is the first single from Villagers same-titled full-length, which will be released on June 8th. The B-Side ("Twenty-Seven Strangers") also comes from the Becoming a Jackal sessions.

Villagers frontman Conor O'Brien represents the emergence of a great new songwriting talent. Growing up in Dun Laoghaire, a southeast seaside Dublin suburb, O’Brien wrote his first song, aged just 12, a week after his older brother lent Conor his acoustic guitar. “Bizarrely enough, my first lyric was “When I’m walking down these streets, I feel like a monkey in the Arctic”. I haven’t told Domino that yet! The song was called ‘Psychic’, which was about being afraid of a psychic friend because he could read your thoughts. Yes, it was a weird one...”

Roald Dahl books, Jim Henson fantasy films (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) and a passion for model painting fed the teen Conor’s imagination, while his first band, formed with three friends from St. Conleth’s College in Ballsbridge, Dublin, defined the adult version. The Immediate were loved in Ireland for their whip-smart, literate bursts of melody, and their sole album In Towers and Clouds was considered the best homegrown debut since U2’s Boy back in 1980. But as the accolades escalated, the band shocked everyone by suddenly breaking up. “It felt like ending an incredible long-term relationship. I’m terrified of bands now, so I do everything myself” says O’Brien.

After choosing the name Villagers - “I like the name because it doesn’t offend the songs” - O’Brien released The Hollow Kind EP in February 2009 and the 7” On a Sunlit Stage last October on the Any Other City label, run by Villagers drummer James Byrne. After signing to Domino, Becoming a Jackal was recorded in Villagers guitarist Tommy McLaughlin’s home studio, with Tommy engineering and co-producing alongside Conor. “We wanted to make it sound a bit like a Neil Young album, not to dress it up too much, like someone is whispering in your ear, but also to get the epic-ness at times.”

From restrained to unleashed, from a whisper to a literal howl, Becoming a Jackal mutates, intrigues and beguiles in equal measure.


Image: villagers packshot single

SI-DNO-267 | Domino | Out now

Add to cart: $5.49
  • 01. Becoming a Jackal
  • 02. Twenty-Seven Strangers