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Becoming a Jackal

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Album Review

The debut from Dublin, Ireland’s Villagers is as lush and intricate as the act’s moniker suggests, but its creator’s idea of what constitutes a proper settlement is clearly in question. Formed after the break-up of indie rockers the Immediate by singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist Conor J. O’Brien, Villagers is a one-man band, and a damn good one at that. Handling all of the duties (besides brass and stings), O’Brien has crafted a warm, weary, and highly listenable first album that shows that you can go it alone without going lo-fi. Part Conor Oberst, part Paul Simon, and a whole lot of Jens Lekman and King Creosote, Becoming a Jackal starts out strong with the one-two punch of “I Saw the Dead” and the infectious title cut, both of which present two sides of the artist — the former, a dreamy, dirge-like invocation of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, and the latter a simple, reflective bit of folk-pop that’s only a few vinyl scratches away from classic rock radio. It’s a formula that he applies throughout the record, and while it doesn’t always work, there’s enough honesty in his rich, warm voice to render even the most forgettable tracks into pleasant diversions on the way to future favorites.

Customer Reviews


Haunting and refreshingly unusual. Originally heard him on Radcliffe & Maconie on Radio 2, then on Jules Holland. I've been looking forward to the Album and have not been disappointed. Nice one!

Intelligent, thoughtful, fascinating

Multi-talented Irishman Conor O'Brien is the genius behind Villagers. Not only does he write and sing this sublime, eclectic collection of songs, he plays virtually every instrument, too! One of those rare albums that works as a whole. There is no filler. Unusual lyrics, plaintive vocals, a modern take on folk. Unlike a lot of modern music, it requires your attention and patience; the many delights of this album only reveal themselves after several listens. I'm almost scared to see him live as I fear the subtleties will be lost. Brilliant!


I LOVE THIS! I CAN'T STOP LISTENING TO IT!!And it never gets old!


Formed: 2008 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Villagers, a solo vehicle for Irish singer/songwriter Conor J. O'Brien, specializes in atmospheric, indie folk/chamber pop that balances the youthful exuberance of contemporaries Jens Lekman, Eugene McGuinness, and Johnny Flynn with the classic rock and pop of artists like Paul Simon and Robert Wyatt. Formed in the late 2000s after the breakup of his band the Immediate, O’Brien began writing his own, solo material. A four-track EP appeared in 2009 and was performed entirely by the Irishman. He soon...
Full bio
Becoming a Jackal, Villagers
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Customer Ratings