IoS album review: Villagers, Awayland (Domino)
Sunday 13 January 2013
The cover of Awayland depicts a small child staring at an unspoilt wilderness. Sometimes, the truth is staring you in the face: with its far from cryptic title, the second Villagers album is all about escape, whether in the literal, geographical sense or through reverie and sensation. "Why," it asks, "should we fear what travel brings?"
Like the other Conor (Oberst of Bright Eyes), Conor O'Brien excels in imparting a feeling of intimacy and an eye for detail. In style, however, he's happy to lurch from beauty to bathos: track one ends with the courtly "I'll save all my stories for thee", and track two begins with the squalid "Naked on the toilet with a toothbrush in his mouth..." Perhaps the most significant line, however, is in "Judgement Call" – "We've got to get the kids before they grow/God forbid they retain their sense of wonder..."
Sonically, it's both insistently traditional and unobtrusively modern. It's that rare commodity: an album to immerse yourself in and spend time with, both things no one does any more. It closes with the sound of squealing pigs, bringing to mind the film Deliverance.
Perhaps O'Brien is trying to tell us something: the great outdoors isn't so great after all.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
The New York Times sparks criticism after releasing an all-white reading list
Glastonbury lineup 2015: The Women's Institute to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Game of Thrones, The Gift, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show’s most iconic characters just met
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people