Villagers’ sixth album offers the best Anglo-European pop one could wish with its ideal balance between classicism and singularity. Irish frontman Conor O’Brien, certainly one of the most gifted songwriters and performers of the last decade, once again offers hypersensitive, vulnerable lyrics, which he sings with great delicacy and wraps in silky melodies, with a rich harmonic discourse. This chamber pop involves a vast instrumental palette (strings, reeds, brass, keyboards, guitars, vibraphone, bass, drums, etc.), and solid electronic complements always serving the song form. Since the release of Becoming a Jackal in 2010, Villagers has progressively become a mark of excellence, an essential reference. In the U.K., Conor O’Brien is now among the likes of Paul McCartney, Andy Partridge, Paul Weller and Guy Garvey, those songwriters capable of digging into the legacy of the great Anglo-American pop corpus since the 1950s, and building a lasting legacy of their own.
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