After their phenomenal success of their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, ‘Becoming a Jackal’ Domino-signed Villagers, aka Conor J O’Brien plays new material from his second album. With pleasingly bruised and delicately tired vocals, the Dubliner lays out poetic lyrics over piano-laced, finger-plucked folk. Conor O’Brien leads the Irish indie folk band, Villagers which has performed at many music festivals and their companions on their tours have been Tracy Chapman, Bell XI, Tindersticks and Elbow.
Villagers have one EP titled Hollow Kind (2009). They had released their first album ‘Becoming a Jackal’ in 2010 and were nominated for both the Mercury Prize and Choice Music Prize. They had released their next album ‘Awayland’ on 14 January 2013 along with the second single from the album, ‘Nothing Arrived’.
After his band ‘The Immediate’ broke up, Conor O’Brien formed Villagers and the very next day, he wrote the first song after he woke up with a hangover. His style was honed and benefitted from his experience as a guitarist in Cathy Davey’s band although he had never appeared along with anyone else than with his first band The Immediate. In November 2008, Villagers gave their first live performance as a support act with The Chapters at a show in Whelan’s. The band had only rehearsed together on two occasions at that point of time. Till that time, O’Brien had written only seven songs that were passed on to the rest of the band to learn.
In 2009, Villagers appeared at several festivals and they performed on the seventh series of RTE Two’s Other Voices TV programme. In its debut EP, titled Hollow Kind, the band had only four tracks, which were all written and performed by O’Brien. Villagers then went on a tour across Europe with Tracy Chapman. The debut single of Villagers was “On a Sunlit Stage” which was released in October 2009. They represented Ireland at Eurosonic Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands on 15 January 2010. On 13 Aoril 2010, Villagers appeared on Later… with Jools Holland and with Paul Weller, Hot Chip, Marina and the Diamonds, Gogol Bordello and Paul Rodgers on BBC Two. In September 2012 the band announced the release of The Waves, the first single from their follow-up album.
According to The Guardian, O’Brien is noted for his dark lyrics – “an eerie sense of disquiet”.