Single Review: Villagers – ‘Occupy Your Mind’
In response to Russian president Vladamir Putin’s draconian laws regarding the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’, which were implemented in the lead up to the current Winter Olympics in Sochi, comes the latest single from Irish indie-folk outfit Villagers, Occupy Your Mind. The single’s liner notes state: ‘… please find enclosed a song written for you, your mother, your father and your gay brothers and sisters in Russia’.
The track is a true departure from the understated folk vibes of Villagers’ previous output. Occupy Your Mind moves forward at a quick march, and with each step an immense feeling of unease grows. The lyrics are equally disconcerting, frontman Conor O’Brien singing with little emotion: ‘Well there’s a crack in the ceiling / And there’s a hole in the sky / And there’s a government warning / They don’t like our kind’.
The tune, both thematically and musically, sounds like it could have been penned by Muse – it’s thunderous arpeggios of effected bass and its symphonic sounding progression at times are a couple of features that recall the British progressive space rockers particularly. And its musical brutality, then, seems fitting for the historically austere world power that the song is examining.
I don’t know if this is a new direction in which Villagers have decided to take their music, or if this is a one off for the people of Russia and the gay community generally, but I don’t know that I’ll be disappointed either way. Whilst I have a soft spot for the earthy, melodious folk of the band’s past albums, Occupy Your Mind shows that if they were to decide to make the change, they could do it very well.