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Becoming A Jackal

Price: £11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Image of album by Villagers


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From the very first seconds of Becoming a Jackal, he’s got you. A faint drone of organ, joined by eerie strings and a cascade of piano that collectively casts a Hitchcock movie shadow before a hushed voice asks, “Have you got just a minute? / Are you easily led? / Let me show the backroom / Where I saw the dead / Dancing like children on a midsummer morn / And they asked me to ... Read more in Amazon's Villagers Store

Visit Amazon's Villagers Store
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Becoming A Jackal + Awayland + Darling Arithmetic
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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 May 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino Recording
  • ASIN: B003D85E6Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,607 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. I Saw The Dead 5:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Becoming A Jackal 3:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Ship Of Promises 4:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The Meaning Of The Ritual 3:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Home 4:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. That Day 3:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. The Pact (I'll Be Your Fever) 3:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Set The Tigers Free 3:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Twenty Seven Strangers 3:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Pieces 5:25£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. To Be Counted Among Men 4:43£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Young Dubliner Conor J. O'Brien or as he likes to call himself, Villagers, is the mastermind behind the 11 varied, subtle, complex and plain gorgeous songs that are Becoming A Jackal. Conor plays all the instruments (except strings and french horn) and Becoming A Jackal was recorded in Villagers home studio, with Tommy McLaughlin engineering and co-producing alongside Conor. Becoming A Jackal is a startling intro to the gripping poetry and melodic depth of Conor J. O'Brien.

BBC Review

There's a bewitching, precocious charm about Conor O'Brien's debut album as Villagers. Having served his indie rock apprenticeship with angular guitar slingers, The Immediate, the Dubliner's solo offering is a different beast altogether and exudes an aura of maturity that belies his tender age.

At its core, Becoming a Jackal is an album of childhood fantasia, the inevitable changes that come with growing up and the environment in which this is experienced. Opener, I Saw the Dead, is sumptuously arranged evoking the bucolic splendour of O'Brian's home town, Dun Laoghaire, as well as Sub Pop's forgotten orch-pop nearly-star, Eric Matthews. The title-track displays the same feral, bottle-up-and-explode angst that typified Elliott Smith's clenched teeth missives: "When I got older, when I grew bolder, out on to the streets I flew". At odds with O'Brian's often disconcerting Gothic lyricism is the album's sonic tenor. Tracks like Ship of Promises and That Day romp by with a spectral sense of urgency as O'Brian sings on the former, "it takes you in and scrubs you clean, sanitises every dream", referring to his youthful church experiences; whilst the latter concerns the grim, unspoken "midnight fears" that pollute a relationship. Elsewhere, so affecting is Set the Tigers Free's saccharine shuffle and its tenderness near tangible that surely Roddy Frame would be jealous.

Becoming a Jackal clocks in at less than three-quarters of an hour but it feels longer, and this is one of the album's few flaws. O'Brien's earnest warbling has all the seriousness befitting a young man with the weight of the world upon his invariably frail shoulders, which can grate in one sitting. The dearth of any light amidst the swathes of shade reaches its nadir on Pieces, a maudlin waltz about as endearing as the type of music played at a wedding reception's twilight hour, wherein O'Brian howls–literally–at the song's conclusion.

Admittedly, such callow behaviour is a rarity here and we can forgive a young man for labouring the point. For the most part, this is a fine debut and speaks of even finer things to come. --Rich Hanscomb

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Linzal on 14 Oct. 2010
Format: Audio CD
When you listen to a new album and it is like falling in love, spending the day thinking about when you can next listen to it. The rising flutter in your stomach, feeling sick and tingling and elated and excited all at once. The haunting melodies and darkly lyrical poetic words - the music creeps up through my flesh, crawls through my veins, settles in my elbows and knees and runs rings in my mind. Something primal, urgent and real yet simultaniously haltingly ethereal, mystical and beautiful.

This sounds like an awful lot of prentious rubbish, but it is what I actually wrote after two days of first listening to this album. A month or so on prehaps my attitude has tempered a little and some logic has crept in, but I'm not sure I wanted it to. This is by no means a flawless album, but it is one that speaks to you (it does to me at least). There are some very special moments - particularly tracks 1, 2 and 4. Though for me I think track 8 Pieces, is one of the best things I have heard this year. There should be more howling in songs in general.

There is something quite special about this album. It is also really quite unnerving.

"Before you take this song as truth, you should wonder what I'm taking from you. How I benefit from you being here, lending me your ears, while I'm selling you my fears"

I have clearly bought into Conor J Obrien's fears wholesale, but I fail to see how one cannot when he a is a purveyor of such sincerity.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
The recent great news that BBC Radio 6 music is to be saved warmed the cockles of many a music lovers heart in the UK particularly those who seek out new and original music. Listening to the channel recently a song came on which was clearly an outright classic; a lost gem perhaps from Paddy McAloon, a new song from Andrew Bird or a neglected find from the vault of the late great Elliot Smith? As it turns out the song was "Becoming A Jackal" from Dublin songwriter Conor J O'Brien who records under the name of Villagers and whose band has recently supported those cherished dilettante's from Kendal - The Wild Beasts. As we speak this wonderful debut album sits on top of the Irish album music chart (Week ending 20th May 2010) proving yet again the impeccable musical taste of our chums across the Irish sea who we can just about make out from some parts of Wales on a good day.

Becoming a Jackal is an album bursting with O'Briens' vivid narratives, gripping poetry and melodic depth. As a debut album it oozes such confidence that O'Brien could claim this has his fifth album and not a single eyebrow would be raised. True the album gets off to a rather strange start with opener "I saw the dead" which is an ever so Gothic rolling piano ballad but which grows on repeated listened. It is followed by the already mentioned gem of a title track and other little jewels quickly follow not least the incredibly strong set of songs that compose the middle part of the album. The "Meaning of ritual" stars with a slow organ which reminds me of a James Yorkston song and builds into a delicate confessional ballad which really exposes the complete shallowness of the work of those other pretenders the Morrison's, the Merriweather's and the horrible Nutini.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By From the Chaos Pad on 6 May 2010
Format: Audio CD
Villagers is Conor O'Brien. I heard this round a PR person's house and scribbled the following: Blue Nile, Jeff Buckley &
Steve McQueen Prefab Sprout.

As anyone who saw him on Later will know, he has a voice and a confidence that is almost otherworldly.

The songs on this album unfold like moments of the day dissolving into dreams. Lead single Becoming a Jackal has a chorus that stays
swirling around your head for days. The kind of tune you find yourself humming without knowing where it came from.
Well it come form here, this incredibly assured debut.

At times the lyrics sound very abstract, other times very everyday. Surrounding them is some incredible shimmying music.

O'Brien's voice carries the whole thing and the record is full of unexpected twists and turns, marrying strange chord changes with his
Irish lilt.

a record to really lose yourself in.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By BigRich on 10 July 2010
Format: Audio CD
I've had a habit in the last few months that has restricted my intake of new music. A copy of the Beatles anthology 3 (a truly exceptional works, it goes without saying)has been kept at all times in my car. When new albums have been brought in (including some very, very good ones such as Beach House and Shearwater's recent efforts)i've inevitably eventually thought, this is great, but i'll just listen to that take of Blackbird one more time, and then the moment for that particular new album has kind of gone. It's a bit like going to a friend's house for a dinner party but taking Raymond Blanc with you to cook your own meal if the level of satisfaction dips below an acceptable level at any given moment. This hasnt happened for the last week or so, and the reason is this incredible album from Villagers- the trading name of Mr Conor o'brien i believe. 11 tracks, not a duff moment throughout, songs that slowly burn away in your mind when you're not listening to them, making you wonder "where did i hear that piano sequence?" before realising ,no, it wasnt on the Beatles anthology, it was on Becoming a Jackal. TBA3 has been removed from the "glove box". This is my new bench mark of song writing genius for 2010. Simply sublime.
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