Wed. Oct 16th, 2019

Renowned For Sound

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Album Review: Villagers – Where Have You Been All My Life?

2 min read

Irish indie/folk group Villagers have been renowned for their deep and meaningful lyrics and their captivating live shows. Their 2011 debut album Becoming A Jackal earned them an Ivor Novello Prize for its title track; it also won ‘Best Folk’ release at the Digital Socket Awards. The group’s 2013 follow-up {Awayland} won them the Choice Music Prize for ‘Irish Album of the Year’; their third album Darling Arithmetic was also well received. Their latest album Where Have You Been All My Life? sees the group revisit tracks from the albums mentioned to deliver a new insight.

Villagers - Where Have You Been All My Life?Commendably the tracks on the album were recorded live in one or two takes; the revisited songs sound so fresh as a result. The emotive voice of lead singer Conor O’Brien tugs at heartstrings and speaks to the soul; never has there been such a serenity to Villagers’ songs and you instantly fall for the smooth Soul Serene and the luscious Set The Tigers Free.

Memoir was originally written by O’Brien for Charlotte Gainsbourg in 2011; Villagers recorded a version of the track for this album and its jazzy arrangement and snappy melody are brilliant. The new rendition of The Waves has an extra two minutes slated onto it; it’s not hard to enjoy its dramatic introduction and smooth-sailing verses/choruses. Wichita Lineman wraps up the record on a lighter note.

Where Have You Been All My Life? is the most intimate Villagers album to date. It may be a collection of songs that have already been released but it’s so refreshing to hear them in this manner. If you’re unfamiliar with the group then perhaps this record will make a fan out of you; its rawness and emotion is compelling and encourages you to visit their back catalogue.