Album: Villagers, Becoming a Jackal (Domino)

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The Independent Culture

A slot on Later... before your album is released is always a sign of hope and hype, as likely to attract the hordes as it is to put off the coolhunters.

And so it is with Villagers, the name Dubliner Conor J O'Brien gave to his act once his band, the Immediate, had split. Already a No 1 record in Ireland, Becoming a Jackal is literate, singer-songwriter fare that conjures Badly Drawn Boy and Prefab Sprout without ever sounding much like either. It will offend no one, and please many, though it's a tad too try-hard for this reviewer.