It was long ago that someone still so beautiful the word ‘motherfucker’ on the lips did roll. The word was Conor O’brien, Irish bard and wordsmith behind Villagers.
Villagers made mainly reputation, with fragile folk and quirky lyrics. On fourth album The art of pretending to swim embraces electronica and he dares to have his number huge swell …
Villagers made mainly reputation, with fragile folk and quirky lyrics. On fourth album The art of pretending to swim embraces electronica and he dares to have his number huge swell. No kerktorenmentaliteit to this villager, or a desire for new sounds. That was evident in La Madeleine on the first night of his European tour. The strings were thuisgelaten and replaced by a synthesizer, drum machine and samplemachine, while O’brien held to his acoustic guitar.
Fresh shaved and red wine drinking checked he through all eight songs from the newest album. In opener ‘Sweet saviour’ etaleerde he immediately how dogged he may lash out, while his gentle strumming in ‘Again’ was supported with samples, swelling synths. And that motherfucker popped up along with hear trumpets in the to the throat grabbing ‘Love came with all that it brings’ – ‘an incredibly depressing song,” he had warned in advance.
The new instrumentation also had an impact on the few older songs that Thursday evening were played. The trumpet was again recalled by the public meegehuilde intro of ‘Hot scary summer’. That was also the case in ” Becoming a jackal’, the title track of Villagers’ debut album from 2010 that enthusiasm was meegefluisterd. Could dance again during ‘Memoir’, in which the double bass was replaced by digital drums.
Is that the urge to innovation, nothing new for the Villagers – he spent two years ago, an album full of restatements of old songs. Still, it was the way that digital instruments, the songs became refreshing, and in addition excluded, he still quickly the threat of bombast. That love-hate relationship with technology, he expressed in ‘Ada’, named after the British mathematician and algorithm-founder of Ada Lovelace. ‘A beautiful and frightening thing’ called O’brien the result that in his pocket was – a bit like his own songs so.
Because behind all that musical beauty were indeed dark thoughts. That he made clearly in the bisronde, with the most insular and isolated song I’ve ever written’, ‘Hold me down’. That was brought without electronic frills, all we heard about an impending thunderstorm rumble. ‘Courage’ and ‘Nothing arrived’ signed for two memorable kampvuurmomentjes, the latter even without any amplifier. A final deep bow, and away he ran, on to the next church.
Seen on Thursday 1 november in La Madeleine