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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Villagers - The day of the jackal
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...
Published on 22 May 2010 by Red on Black

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2.0 out of 5 stars VILLAGERS: BECOMING A JACKAL
I bought this album after reading the above reviews and was expecting some previously unheralded masterpiece. Whilst there are definite references to Prefab Sprout and the great Pierce Turner (don't get the Jeff Buckley refs), these are only stylistic references and Conor O'Brien's songs never come close in quality, to those of either of these artists. To be honest, there...
Published 11 months ago by threewiseninjas


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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Cheerful but musically very clever, 4 April 2013
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This review is from: Becoming a Jackal (Audio CD)
Not the kind of subject matter to prompt a sing a long but excellent songs nevertheless. Definately recommended but I prefer their second album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Live show was a good lead in, 4 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
I first heard about this band when they supported Elbow at their Brighton live show. If I had to describe the album I'd say - Fantastical storytelling with a folk rock feel. It's great. One of my favourite CDs of the past few years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful album, 30 May 2012
This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
This is an amazing album with songs sung in the most gorgeous sweet voice. I would recommend it to everyone; young or old, no matter what your taste is. The tunes are catchy but I feel like he is also sharing a great deal of emotion with every track. Here's to finding out when their next tour is!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ivor Novello winner - give it a listen, 7 Mar 2012
This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
I am not sure how I feel about music reviews. I think you either like stuff or you don't and who is anybody else to tell you otherwise.
I love this album - I think it is something quite beautiful. The songs are well written and to my ear the music is brilliantly constructed.
To the reviewer who said the writing is akin to A level I would point out that 'Becoming a Jackal' won the Ivor Novello award for best song musically and lyrically in May 2011,([...]) this is the most coveted award for singer/songwriters.

I would encourage anyone to give it a listen - the talent within it deserves it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BLOWN AWAY, 31 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
Was prepared to tolerate Villager for the warm up preceding Elbow at the 02. Well, what a surprise. I was blown away by the beautiful, heartbreaking lyrics, which then soared into huge magnificent music sound. Couldn't wait to buy the CD after the show. What a bonus to Elbow's usual magical, memorable performance. I for one, am looking forward to hearing more of this new (to me) band. I think we will be hearing a lot more from Villager.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better late than never, 20 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
Wow. Came late to this after reading others' comments and I fully endorse what they all said. This is a brilliant debut album with a warm heartfelt core. Not a duff track on it and the style varies form one track to another - sounding like a great Paddy McAloon on one to Damien Rice to.... you'll have to listen to find out.
Really glad I bought it - play it most days and hasn't palled after 20 odd listens. One of the best albums of a vintage year in 2010 and I will certainly be there for his next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, a work of art, 9 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
I just love this album. My throat always catches and tears escape when i hear the words to Becoming A Jackal. What a gorgeous mini-world encased in the lyrics to this song. It reminds me profoundly of Johh Connolly's The Book of Dead Things (another fantastic Irishman).
The album is other-wordly and gothic-like, haunted by ghosts and spectres, memory, emotion and mood. Multi-layered, rich and deep it improves with each outing.
A much deserved short-lister for the Mercury and proof yet again that some of the finest singer songwriters, the finest musicians (check out the piano playing!) are indeed Irish.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy Dreams, 30 May 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
Conor J O'Brien is from Ireland and in his incarnation as Villagers he
opens doors into dark existential landscapes which, however elusive,
surreal and ofttimes macabre, manage to seep in under the skin and
take up residence, however uncomfortably, in our imagination.

He is a talented and prodigious musician who plays all the instruments
on the album with the exception of the french horn and strings provided
by the London Ensemble. 'Becoming A Jackal' is an extraordinary creation.

There are eleven songs in the collection. The melodic and rhythmic
structure of Mr O'Brien's musical inventions are wonderfully elusive
and stylistically difficult to pin down and therein lays much of its magic.

The album catapults us directly into nightmare with the chilling opening
track 'I Saw The Dead'. The icy piano and strings and insistent percussion
frames a set of terrifying lyrics which explore some very sinister corners
of the human psyche. Cadavers, cannibalism and moral corruption
combine in a Grand Guignol tour de force. Not for the faint hearted!

Despite its somewhat jaunty arrangement, title track 'Becoming A Jackal' offers
little respite. It would not be too difficult to surmise that Mr O'Brien could be a
particularly difficult individual with whom to sustain a romantic attachment!
With one eye on an unmade bed and the other gazing out of the window,
dreaming of satisfaction and sustenance of a more sanguinary kind than
mere love or lust might offer, metamorphosis of a deeply unpleasant kind
seems only moments away! (This Old Wolf, however, has long sustained a
distasteful view of his distant cousin's epicurean proclivities!!)

'The Meaning Of Ritual' rises out of a dirge-like introduction to reveal
yet another morbidly pessimistic view of the possibility of love.
The beautiful melody and luminous string arrangement are jarringly
at odds with the sentiments of the lyrical content. The abrupt ending
leaves us hanging by a thread with no hope of a cosy resolution.
Thrilling stuff!

Crikey! This is a man who's happy with his deeply inherent misery.
'That Day' articulates such a vivid sense of domestic emotional
disappointment and decay that Mr O'Brien almost makes us feel
that we are in the room with him as his world disintegrates!

'Pieces', with its fragile falsetto vocal performance and curious
1960's ambience takes desolation to a near-transcendent level.
(I howled along with him at the end - listen and understand!)

Final track 'To Be Counted Among Men' juggles heaven and hell,
good and evil and spiritual ambivalence with the lightest of touches.
A strangely affecting conclusion.

Call him what you will, Villagers or Conor J O'Brien, the man is onto
something here! It may not be the most easy of listens but I'll take
a little bit of this man's vision over Eurovision anyday!

Essential.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Villagers - Becoming a Jackal, 23 May 2010
By 
This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (Audio CD)
O'Brien has created a real masterpiece for his first long-playing effort under the name of 'Villagers'.

Fantastic song writing is matched will clever lyrics and heart-wrenching harmonies.

A great record, deffinately worth buying if you like Patrick Watson!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice!!, 22 July 2014
By 
D. Powell (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Becoming A Jackal (MP3 Download)
Like it, may not be for everyone but it's a good mix and sits well in my slightly...ok very...eclectic music mix
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Becoming A Jackal
Becoming A Jackal by Villagers (Audio CD - 2010)
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