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Awayland [VINYL] Import

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Product details

  • Vinyl (14 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B009ELWJJ6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

{Awayland} is the follow up to the Mercury-nominated and Ivor Novello Award winning debut, Becoming a Jackal. Engineered, produced and mixed at Attica Audio in Donegal by Conor J. O Brien and Villagers guitarist Tommy McLaughlin.

BBC Review

When your debut album bags a Mercury Prize nomination, expectations for its follow-up are going to be raised. Villagers’ Becoming a Jackal set of 2010 was an alternately arresting and disturbing release more than worthy of its place on the Mercury list, a showcase for Irish singer-songwriter Conor O’Brien’s sensitive croon and dark way with words.

The mood this time round is tangibly different. Seemingly more of a collective effort (O’Brien lauds the musicianship of his band members in the accompanying notes), the angelic harmonies of opener My Lighthouse, or the gently lulling “ooh”s of the otherwise instrumental title track endow the music with a new lightness.

Strings mimic the ebb and flow of a tide on Grateful Song, reflecting a general loose atmosphere of the sea also created with the album’s lyrical references to “the barrier reef” (The Waves), the singing of sea birds (Nothing Arrived), a “paddle fish” (Passing a Message) and In a Newfound Land You Are Free’s lovely description of how “the windows reveal the spinning sea”.

The macabre does occasionally bare its fangs, but this time round it’s restricted to the odd glancing reference that makes you do an aural double take. The delicate My Lighthouse mentions skinning a corpse (of a ghost); Grateful Song describes a God of “pain… tragedy… hatred and deceit… of a hapless, helpless agony”.

Later, the twist of In a Newfound Land You Are Free – ostensibly a touching ballad to a newborn – seems to suggest that the baby has died: “I am burned by a lifetime too brief / With this newfound land comes a newfound grief.”

The evocative lyrics sometimes suffer from overly mannered or just overdone phraseology – O’Brien’s use of “thee” instead of “you” (The Lighthouse) or “for to” instead of “to” (Grateful Song) jars slightly – and the vocal enunciation is sometimes a little oppressive in its intimacy. But these are ultimately prices worth paying for the pleasingly poetic, adventurous and occasionally florid use of words that mark Villagers out as one of the more interesting, literate and imaginative storytellers of recent years.

--Jude Clarke

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD
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 thickened and gained in complexity
without losing any of its immediacy and appeal. Take 'Earthly Pleasure', for
example, a dense brew of crashing guitar, brutal percussion and shivering
strings, together with the kind of memorable chorus which has you reaching
for the repeat button the moment it's over; or perhaps the almost jaunty 'The
Waves' with its energetic quasi-caribbean rhythms and the superb 'Grateful
Song', with its uplifting sense of breadth and drama, to witness the artistic
development of an artist firing on all six creative cylinders. There are some
wonderfully simple moments too : 'In A Newfound Land You Are Free' is the kind
of song which you'll be drawn back to again and again for its gorgeous melody
and perfectly focused piano accompaniment and restrained vocal performance.

So early on in the New Year Villagers may well have delivered one of 2013's
musical highlights. It fully deserves our undivided attention and applause.

Highly Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Over the first few listens Awayland has grown from a strong 3-4 stars to an absolutely guaranteed 5. Like all great albums it has hidden depths and guarantees longevity by unveiling itself over several listens. As the title suggests, seeing this performed live at the Leadmill in Sheffiled on Friday enhanced my enjoyment of a superb and varied collection of songs. I really believe this should go one further than Becoming a Jackal and win the Mercury music prize.
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I was only slightly persuaded that the Villagers were any good by the first album. I really enjoyed Ship of Fools & Becoming a Jackal & The Meaning of the Ritual, but thought the album as a whole lacked a bit of heart & soul.

I was subsequently knocked out by a performance at the Borderline in London, the songs sounded alive. Plus we got to hear much of this new collection - most of which sounded wonderful.

Now I have the CD, and it mostly is wonderful. The songwriting is assured, the melodies are naggingly good and the playing is great. I still think there is a lack of something soulful herein, but have no doubt that Conor O'Brien is making his way slowly towards creating a masterpiece. He certainly has the talent.
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Format: MP3 Download
Fantastic, they've really expanded since Becoming a Jackal, delving into the relms of electronica with a twist of funk and jazz. Only on my first listen but my favourites so far... My Lighthouse, The Waves and Passing a Message. Sublime!!
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Ok. I have waited and waited for the villagers to bring out this album. I pre ordered it as soon as amazon advised it was coming out.
I prefer having hard copy CD's so had to wait a week until it arrived in NZ. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely.
This is a great follow up and easily up there with becoming a jackal. Conor J O'Brien is sheer genius. Tough to pick a favourite track
but hard to get Nothing Arrived out of my head. With this CD something certainly did arrive.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I originally brought the album because I love the track the 'Bell' which had been getting lots of airplay on radio six. With a couple of plays of each side I now love it all! It is just so well crafted.
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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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Format: 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 the 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 theme of Jackal) but introduces lush electronic soundscapes and his distinctly intimately vocal style.
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