Villagers: Darling Arithmetic (Domino) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024  

Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame ImpalaVillagers

Darling Arithmetic


Apr 14, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

While much of modern pop surrounds itself in bravado, Villagers are a curious anomaly. The Irish quintet are as honest as they come. And if their 2013 breakthrough LP {awayland} was a personal heart-on-sleeve slice of tender folk strains, its successor is even more candid.

With its soft, almost whispered production, Darling Arithmetic places frontman Conor O’Brien’s raw narratives firmly at the fore. It can make for uncomfortable listening; at times it feels a lot like earwigging into the confessions of a man coming to terms with himself and the world around him. But, for all that, it’s a compelling proposition.

Opener “Courage” sets the tone. An introspective assessment of how O’Brien has grown, it’s a song weathered by relationships and his own personal mistakes. Undulating underneath is a slow acoustic arrangement of guitar that rises and falls majestically with the emotive flow.

From here, poignancy pours. “Dawning on Me” stutters and flutters to hushed guitar plucks; “No One to Blame” is a divine orchestration of tear-stained keys that magnify O’Brien’s fragile croon; and “Little Bigots” takes a melodic swipe at blind homophobia.

It’s a tumultuous listen, but one that sweeps you up in its compassion, bravery, and beauty. Honesty has never sounded so good.


Author rating: 7.5/10

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