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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Strength To Strength
Conor J. O'Brien is a fine song writer. No doubt about it. Villagers' 2010
album 'Becoming A Jackal' was a quietly menacing and thoroughly engrossing
affair. The kind of stuff which gave you the shivers in a very nice way.

Their new release 'Awayland' opens up a few new avenues. The sound, though
still substantially acoustic in nature, has...
Published 19 months ago by The Wolf

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy album
A few good songs: in particular, 'The Waves', 'Nothing Arrived' and 'In a Newfound Land You Are Free'.

The most beautiful bit of the album is the first two thirds of the opening song, 'My Lighthouse', which is criminally ruined by a really unpleasant key-change ending.

A quite lyrical album in places but slightly silly and even cheesy in others...
Published 10 months ago by Our Mutual Fiend


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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional, 28 Jan 2013
This review is from: {Awayland} (MP3 Download)
The soundtrack to the end of the world...& the beginning of the new one. It's mysteries offer glimpses of what we loose and what remains, and into our souls.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on their previous album, but worth a listen, 24 Jan 2013
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This review is from: {Awayland} (MP3 Download)
Had high hopes for this. Their previous album, becoming a jackal was one of the best albums I've heard in years so I guess it was a hard act to follow. It's not awful but is doesn't have the acoustic, mellow sound throughout it. There are a couple of tracks that sound like b sides or songs that were originally instrumentals that have been re worked with vocals for an album. Earthly pleasure is plain awful. I still like the album but with becoming a jackal I could listen to the whole album on repeat and enjoy all of it. With this, I find myself skipping quite a bit. There's a bit too much repetition in a few of the tracks. It feels more like early crowded house whereas baj had lots of influences in it. There are still a few good tracks on it so maybe I'm being a bit harsh but I was blown away by their previous effort so its just disappointment I guess. Sorry, its just a personal thing. I'm still pleased to have both albums in my collection but feel away land might have been harder work for the band. Still worth a purchase though.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a gem..., 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Awayland (Audio CD)
4 of the songs on this album are memorable: The Waves, The Bell, Nothing Arrived and Passing a Message. These are good songs. The rest; filler.

Sadly, save for the above standouts, the rest is try-hard experimentation and the production all too shiny at times. There's a need to conquer new territory and, possibly, a failure to recognise when something's JUST right (cue, for instance, The Bell at 2m:45).

Three surplus insipid solo acoustic fillers are dull. Without wishing to criticise the clearly earnest sentiments of the tracks one must question how they passed the track-listing stage.

On the whole, there's disappointment, given the awesome talent O'Brien and his bandy of trusty Villagers clearly posses. There are 4 really good songs, but when you know there could have been 9 or 10, you feel just a little let down.

IMHO. Others will disagree. Meanwhile, I'm back to the Jackal.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Villagers - Completely conquer "difficult second album syndrome"., 14 Jan 2013
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Awayland (Audio CD)
Sophomore albums are legendary for the often negative and corrosive effect that they can have. This is particularly the case for artists who have shown massive promise on their debuts and yet stumble on tracks that are often thrown together in haste usually touring their first set of songs to the point of nausea. What great news it is therefore to report that Villagers have realised their status as a band to watch to one that must now be viewed as a main contender. In particular it represents a triumph for its driving force the huge songwriting talent of Conor J O'Brien who has absolutely nailed it to the post and laid a challenge to all comers this new year. 2010's "Becoming a Jackal" was lauded with praise and conjured up echoes of great songwriters like Ed Harcourt, Conor Oberst and Paddy McAloon raising Irish hopes in musical terms that there might just be another "anointed one" like Damien Rice who can take the wider world by storm. O'Brien however is from a different mold to the latter and his vivid narratives, gripping poetry and melodic depth are deepened on this excellent album "{Awayland}" which can be confidentially predicted will again demand the rapt attention of the Ivor Novello award panel.

O'Brien has taken his time and navigated through a period racked with self doubt and worries that he might be a "fraud" which led him to explore a wider musical palette to infuse his songs with more depth and greater layers of instrumentation beyond the guitar. His first song released from the album last year "The Waves" returns to the sea (a key of theme of Jackal) but introduces lush electronic soundscapes and his distinctly intimately vocal style. It builds to a huge conclusion and marks a calling card which screams out his determination not to stand still. Opening song "My Lighthouse" is more like the music contained on his debut and a real beauty of an almost spoken ballad which is a fine start. However you sense that {Awayland} is much more of a band album not least on songs infused with the sharp and powering guitar riffs of Tommy McLaughlin such as album standout "Earthly Pleasures", It starts with the brilliant opening line that articulates what may be O'Brien's own insecurity "naked on the toilet with a toothbrush in his mouth, when he suddenly acquired an overwhelming sense of doubt". Throughout O'Brien's lyrics are first class nowhere more than on the five minute plus "The Bell" where the band throw in Western sounding guitars and almost Bond like musical motifs. On the pounding piano lament "Nothing Arrived" O"Brien produces a song which Michael Stipe would die to have written, showing again that two albums in he already touching the musical greats.

Other songs complete an album which is a filler free zone. "Passing a message" is dark and threatening yet completely absorbing, while "In the Newfound land you are free" shifts down a number of gears to almost echo Tom Waits but with an aching melody that will pay dividends on repeated listens. The whole thing is rounded off by the funky "Rhythm composer" packed with humour (is that a donkey at 4.30?), swirling strings and jaunty drums so far removed from anything on "Jackal" that it could be different artist. In the final reckoning {Awayland} is a book smart album written by someone who is not afraid to be clever or to expand his already dazzling wordplay further. Villagers tour in February and until then this must have record full of twisted torch songs and off kilter creativity will provide fulsome satisfaction.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great second offering..., 22 Jan 2013
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This review is from: {Awayland} (MP3 Download)
Starts gently enough with first track My Lighthouse and soon gets into a real mix of Divine Comedy/Bright Eyes type tales and a heady mix of jazzy/folky/alt rock (whatever that entails) beats that creep into your head and stay there ! Excellent stuff....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant new album, 16 Jan 2013
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This review is from: {Awayland} (MP3 Download)
The new Villagers album is a definite early contender for album of the year! Every track is amazing. Recommended! And a bargain on MP3.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING, THE BEST YET!!, 14 Jan 2013
This review is from: {Awayland} (MP3 Download)
Having already released a phenomenal debut I was skeptical as to whether Villagers could deliver to such a high quality again... but boy was I wrong!!

{Awayland} takes you on a musical journey, I have picked up this album today and literally cannot stop listening to it. Each play rewards the listener and even though we are still in January, I have no doubt that this will be my album of the year.

At this price you would be mad not to buy it!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 31 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Awayland (Audio CD)
Purchased it before seeing the group live; absolutely astonishing. Genuinely fantastic album, would reccommend to anyone. Great songs and the vocals are spectacular.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars errr..., 29 Mar 2013
By 
Philippe Desaegher "phildefer" (Belgique) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Awayland (Audio CD)
I was expecting a lot from this new Villagers CD. I had loved the previous one for it's intensity, the sound and the fresh songs.
This new delivery is for me a bit disappointing. Still good music all in all, but the songs are all a bit the same to my ears. Less variety and less appeal.
So a 3 star vote, but I'm not losing hope for the next cd....
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CD, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Awayland (Audio CD)
Present for son. Just what he wanted Did not listen to it myself. Good value for money and good quality
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VILLAGERS - {AWAYLAND} - FNAC
VILLAGERS - {AWAYLAND} - FNAC by Villagers (Audio CD)
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