Home > News & Reviews > Villagers

Villagers - Darling Arithmetic (Album Review)

Thursday, 16 April 2015 Written by Huw Baines

The problem faced by many of today’s singer-songwriters is one of artifice. Listeners are savvy and know the difference between the cynical tugging of heartstrings and genuine sentiments. Conor O’Brien’s third album with Villagers comfortably falls into the latter category and finds the Dubliner shunning busy, full-band arrangements in favour of delicate acoustic pieces.

Recorded on a 16-track machine at O’Brien’s home, ‘Darling Arithmetic’ is a personal, organic statement initially intended to form the demo backbone of a record similar in scope to ‘Awayland’, Villagers’ second release. The result is a deliberately simple collection of songs that nevertheless display a deft grasp of atmospherics.

O’Brien utilises this sense of intimacy to discuss love and his sexuality and, while he has described his wish for ‘Darling Arithmetic’ to be a “universal love album”, his recounting of personal insecurities and experiences of homophobia makes the record his most open and unguarded to date.

“Remember kissing on the cobblestones in the heat of the night,” runs Hot Scary Summer. “All the pretty young homophobes, looking out for a fight.”

Little Bigot, meanwhile, is a fine distillation of the album’s strengths. A jarring piano chord and undulating bass underpin O’Brien’s descending guitar and pointed words: “Throw that hatred on the fire,” he sings. “Throw it on the fire. Love is all. Love is real. Love is true.” Courage and Dawning On Me offer spare, plaintive moments of beauty, but Everything I Am Is Yours and The Soul Serene have a sense of weariness about them, their superb melodies delivered with a shuffling gait.

Complaints are relatively few. O’Brien’s best lyrics are confined to a couple of standout songs and, while this should perhaps be expected given the record’s beginnings, it does feel a tad slight at times. Its nine song running order does ensure that not a breath is wasted, though. A fine album from a songwriter of great quality.

Villagers Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu April 16 2015 - EXETER Phoenix
Fri April 17 2015 - HOVE Old Market (The)
Sun April 19 2015 - LIVERPOOL Epstein Theatre
Mon April 20 2015 - MANCHESTER Royal Northern College of Music
Tue April 21 2015 - LEEDS City Varieties
Thu April 23 2015 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Fri April 24 2015 - CARDIFF Gate
Sun April 26 2015 - NOTTINGHAM Nottingham Glee Club
Mon April 27 2015 - EDINBURGH Pleasance
Tue April 28 2015 - GLASGOW Oran Mor
Fri May 01 2015 - LONDON Barbican
Wed May 20 2015 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Sat May 23 2015 - CORK Opera House
Sun May 24 2015 - LIMERICK Big Top
Mon May 25 2015 - BELFAST Mandela Hall

Click here to compare & buy Villagers Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >