Before I went away on holiday I had a rush of buying some new music all of which is now on heavy rotation on my cd player. Over the next week or so I'll write about each of the lps (the most exciting of which for me was an advanced copy of Trevor Jones's - singer of the Miracle Mile follow up to his first solo lp)
The first lp is "Becoming a Jackal" by Irish singer songwriter Conor O'Brien who records under the name of the The Villagers. Not only that but he also produces the lp , plays all the instruments (apart from the french horn and strings) and designs the art work. he probably has a lie in on sundays.
This is not your average singer songwriter stuff , if anything he remnds me a bit of Sufjan Stevens in that the songs manage to be both memorably catchy and interestingly complex at the same time, the instrumentation is always imaginative and the lyrics worth a sit down and read in their own right (the lyric book is a beautiful bit of design). It all hasn't gone unnoticed as the lp has been nominated for the Mercury prize.
There are echoes of Prefab Sprout's Swoon but like that lp comparisons don't do justice to it's uniqueness and also like that lp you seem to hear something fresh either in the word heavy lyrics or the subtle changes in tempo and tone everytime it comes on
The Villagers website is here and you can buy the lp here