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Sep 27 2018

Album review - Villagers

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Villagers - The Art Of Pretending To Swim (Domino)

GIVEN WE live in a post-Christian, increasingly secular, Ireland, the opening line of Villagers' new album comes as a surprise: "I've found again, the space in my heart again, for God again, in the form of art again."

'Again' is also a terrific track, beginning with gently picked acoustic guitar and birdsong, Conor O'Brien intones those lines gently, with a faint sense of awe - and it chimes with his recent admission: "I have this strong urge to believe. Call it love, togetherness, God, whatever. But you can’t argue with faith, which is a terrifying prospect! Though there’s a lot of beauty in it too.”

That sensibility runs through 'A Trick Of The Light': "It may never come, but I'm willing to wait, what can I say? I'm a man of the faith" - where faith, in whatever way you want to understand it, becomes an optimistic, encouraging, view of life. Its drawbacks are not avoided by O'Brien either, as he admits on 'Long Time Waiting': "If you believe your time is coming, but you're counting on your saviour to come, you're gonna be a long time waiting."

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