New Music Monday: Villagers


Villagers - Darling Arithmetic coverHaving had their first two albums nominated for the Mercury Prize, Villagers will release their third full-length, Darling Arithmetic, on Tuesday (April 14) via Domino.

Band-leader Conor O’Brien retreated home to his loft in the coastal town of Malahide outside of Dublin, Ireland to create the album. Villagers has always been O’Brien’s project, but Darling Arithmetic takes that idea even further. He wrote, recorded, produced, and mixed the album alone at home.

Fans of Villagers’ previous records will find much to enjoy on the new album. Themes from {Awayland} and Becoming a Jackal like desire, obsession, lust, loneliness, and confusion, return in deeper and more-developed forms. The record is an intimate affair, focusing entirely on love and relationships.

The instrumentation, too, finds itself in a much more intimate space. Darling Arithmetic features piano, mellotron, and brushes all performed by O’Brien himself. Unlike Villagers’ previous efforts, Darling Arithmetic focuses on those few instruments with renewed intensity. The record is less experimental in sound and scope than their previous two albums, but this ultimately makes room for a more consolidated and focused sound on Darling Arithmetic.

Since the release of Becoming a Jackal Conor O’Brien’s aim has always looked to be a troubadour, and Darling Arithmetic solidifies that. The reduced emphasis on experimentation and the corresponding increase in emphasis on subtle instrumentation and philosophical lyrics marks Villagers’ third album as a new step along the way for O’Brien. Though the record delves into familiar terrain, it does so with a new level of maturity for O’Brien, in which he investigates the idea that less may really be more.

Villagers’ third full-length, Darling Arithmetic, will be out April 14 via Domino. The album is available for pre-order on Amazon, iTunes, and Domino USA’s online store.