VILLAGERS SHOW THEIR POTENTIAL AT BUSH HALL

Recently signed to Domino records, Irish group Villagers – led by singer songwriter, Conor O’Brien, have seen their stock rise considerably since their appearance on Jools Holland two months ago.   With a recently released debut album and a long summer of festival appearances ahead, the intimate and ornate surrounds of Bush Hall in London gave them a chance to show off their talents in a venue that they will soon out grow. The set was made up almost entirely from their new album which harnesses a sound that is honest, emotionally wrought and comparable to the folk musings of Bright Eyes.  The two Conors share a similar sense of truth concealed within baroque imagery, though where Oberst displays a cracked and vulnerable voice, O’Brien’s is majestic, pained yet precise.   ‘In Pieces‘ – his personal opus, could reduce grown men to tears with its brutally honest mantra.

Although the name suggests a shared and collective dwelling, this is really the Conor O’Brien show, much like Bright Eyes is merely a foil for Oberst.  It’s his unbridled intensity and striking voice that is most captivating. The arrangements are varied enough to allow the band to express themselves and show proficiency, although it’s O’Brien that casts the spell, whether strumming the upbeat ‘The pact (I’ll be your fever)’ or wistfully pining on the piano driven, ‘home’ he conveys a sense of drama and poignancy that belies his youthful age. Expect to see much more of O’Brien and his villagers.

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