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Villagers, Darling Arithmetic (Domino Records)
CD Reviews: May 7, 2015

05/07/15
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Villagers, Darling Arithmetic (Domino Records)

Mellow-down neo-quirk-folk from Ireland’s Conor O’Brien, an act he cooked up after the breakup of his previous band, The Immediate. Fedora hats abound at opening song “Courage,” a milquetoast alt-folk strum-along adorned with tentative, self-conscious warbling that isn’t necessarily characteristic of O’Brien, but then again it does get eerily captivating toward the end, eventually making the tune redolent of the Domino Records brand. As you well know, I can’t tolerate fedora bands, which is what this really is in the end, but Mercury Prize acclaim didn’t land on O’Brien by accident, as proven in the “The Soul Serene,” a fascinating little gumdrop that’s very pretty when it isn’t making annoying ’90s-faux-organ sounds. In case you were wondering where the meat is in this guy’s story, O’Brien started the band as a one-person operation, grew it into a full band, and then decided he wanted to play all the instruments again, as he did here. B+  — Eric W. Saeger





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