Sunday, April 3, 2011
Villagers - Becoming A Jackal (2010)
I was introduced to Villagers when the fine folks at NPR featured Villagers' Conor O'Brien in an intimate three song set as part of their Tiny Desk Concert series. The set was enchanting and melancholic but in no way prepared me for the debut album itself. Beginning with haunting "I Saw the Dead", O'Brien's poetic lyricism paints pictures of strangely mystical encounters that seem as deeply familiar as any everyday happenstance. It's songcraft that doesn't take itself too seriously and benefits greatly from it - able to dress up "Becoming A Jackal" in something deceptively upbeat and poppy or dramatically elevate a seemingly mundane experience in "Twenty Seven Strangers".
Becoming A Jackal is, simply put, an utter masterpiece. If you were to take each song and inspect it, you'd find each one to be virtually flawless. Each song manages to have it's own distinct sound while contributing greatly to the whole. What's even more surprising is when you learn that O'Brien played almost every instrument you hear on it.
Get a taste of Villagers with the video for "Becoming A Jackal":