Tweet Tweet!

Follow SXP on Twitter
- RSS Feed
SoundsXP Presents
Next show:

On Our iPod

Latest Forum Posts
Album Review

{Awayland} Domino

Article written by Sam C - Jan 20, 2013

As Connor O’Brien took stock of his lot and started to consider his options for the follow up to his debut album “Becoming A Jackall” surely even he must have been a little surprised as to its success. Mercury Prize Nominated, critically acclaimed and a thoroughly accomplished, mature album of beautifully phrased, articulate folk songs, all delivered in his carefully measured vocal style, it should have been an underground phenomenon but it crashed onto daytime Radio 1 and Jools Holland in a way I don’t think anyone outside of Domino Records expected.

The follow up the oddly punctuated {Awayland} came with something he hadn’t perhaps experienced before great expectations. Clearly O’Brien and his ever beefier sounding band aren’t afraid of a challenge. Lyrically there are signs of great progression, he’s always been a great storyteller (see the non-album track Cecelia and her Selfhood for a stunning example of this) but his world view is getting broader. Here as well as the usual songs about troubled relationships we see him hurl barbed quips in the direction of bankers (“Earthly Pleasures” rallying call again “Beelzebub is in our banks”) and politicians inaction regarding climate change (In The Waves he talks of “Honeybee Cemeteries” and challenges the listener with the repeated line “what are you gonna do?”) It’s no dour manifesto though as O’Brien has a way with words, light of touch and fascinating throughout. There’s something of Nick Cave in his words that mix great intellect with a sense of humour missing from so many over earnest troubadours (don’t get me started on Frank Turner)

The other major change from the debut is a new sense of adventure in the arrangements , notably the genuinely terrifying outro of “The Waves” with its blazing electronics, crashing drums and a feeling you too might be engulfed by the sea…it’s stunning! On occasions such as “Rhythm Composer” he perhaps goes a bit too far for some, it’s verging on bonkers. Starting off a jaunty little numbers that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Disney soundtrack, it then slams on the break with a breakdown that resembles an 80s kids TV theme tune, before giving way to Saxophone, electronics beats and raps the whole thing up with what sounds a lot like a rather unhappy farmyard animal. The whole thing would make a fine exercise in instrument counting for a primary school music lesson. Thankfully for fans of the debut Villagers still find time for some beautifully stripped back numbers from the heartfelt Piano ballad “In A New Found Land You Are Free” to the instrumental title track it’s a wonderfully crafted thing. All in all it’s a fabulous album by a band at the top of their game, gently pushing boundaries and doing thing you never thought you’d hear them do.


Simon Love's Debut Solo LP Seems Like A Good Idea
Wavves & Cloud Nothings Have No Life On Collaborative Album
The Madcap's Last Laugh: Syd Barrett Documentary To Be Released This Year
Ca-nine Love Songs? Magnetic Fields Dedicate Two New Tracks To A Dog
Official Transmissions: Joy Division Launch Website Ahead Of LP Reissues
The Go-Betweens' Robert Forster Has Some Songs To Play
Three's The Magic Number For Bardo Pond Compilation
Swirles Keep On Spinning With New 7", LP Reissue & Live Dates To Celebrate 25 Years
Golden Years: David Bowie To Release Comprehensive Box Set Series
ATP With Stewart Lee! Comedian To Curate Event In Wales
Thalassocracy "Shimensoka"
O. Chapman "Best Friend"
Midas Fall "Carol Of The Infected"
Dignan Porch "Out Of The Picture"
The Heart Strings "Beautiful Abyss"
Vincent Parker "Purge"
Shannon and the Clams "Corvette"
Cherry Glazerr "Sip 'O Poison"
Fitness Club Fiasco "Ghost Dance"
Holy Esque "Sovereign"


© Sounds XP Design by Darren O'Connor and Adam Walker