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.