• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Villagers, Awayland (Domino Records)

{Awayland} is considerably more expansive than its 2010 predecessor, Becoming A Jackal.

It was largely acoustic and, though songwriter and frontman Conor O'Brien's lyrical imagination has always been prodigious, the song structures were orthodox enough to bring the band an indie-folk label.

This is different. The movement outward starts with the band itself, which has become more muscular and grandiose in its approach than before. Sure there are pastoral-sounding acoustic guitar parts, sure there is humming – you'll hear both on the title track – but songs like Waves and Passing A Message come complete with brass honks, piano rolls, string crescendos and synthesised beats and bleeps. This music is built for a bigger stage than Villagers have previously graced.

That same confidence extends to the lyrics. "There is a sleeping dog under this dialogue, obedient only to rhyme," O'Brien sings on The Bell while The Waves itself is a physics tutorial turned into a metaphysical conceit about, I don't know, the Oneness of human experience or something.

Chewy stuff, in other words – but well worth snacking on.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.