Cultural Fatwa: The Villagers
As Conor O Brien stumbles shambolically but inexorably towards that Choice music win – Culturalfatwa sticks the resentment pin up the arse of the Villager’s Bubble…
Ah yes I recall it well one Tuesday night as the twitter flowed warm with Oirish love. It seems hardly a few months ago where it seemed close to overload as the leading hipsters of the Dublin scene spilled yearningly into their key boards; “Check it out roight” “he’s on now” “ah but if he’d only glaze me a little in passing with his sincerity”
He’s on Jules Holland and he’s ours, our own lovely boy to mind and patronize and gently promote…
He has laboured.
That sultry night in twitter heaven the birds ran away with the whale – the little dog laughed to see such over capacity and the industry wondered about the potential metal in the spoon.
And then the goods were delivered
Exhibit A: “Becoming a Jackal” – Conor O Brien – sincere, young troubadour – hand picked hipster vehicle of woe for the Summer 2010.
“Conor OBrien told The Ticket that the album was the culmination of three years’ work. “I feel like it’s scooped me out of my shell and left me squirming uncontrollably at the side of the street,” he said.” *
Conor’s reaction to his love’s labour’s lost strangely echoes mine.
Here we go and what can go wrong?
Bookie’s favourite for the Choice Music awards 2011, respectable numbers of Irish sales, Number six on The Ticket’s 50 Best Irish Music Acts Right Now with such label mate company as the Arctic Monkeys, Cass McCombs, Wild Beasts and Franz Ferdinand.
You: But is it any good?
Me: Well it appears the saviour of the hipster scene is er a whiney singer song writer
You: But is it any good?
Me: …“it’s out in the main street because that’s where the dream goes”
You: Any good we asked?
Me: …“Staring into space with no look upon my face” – What? …
You: Any good?
Me: Well it’s highly rated by a lot of cool people.
You: IS IT ANY GOOD FATWA YOU FECKER!?!?
Me: Well let me put it in the blunt Q-Basic of my youth
10 This album is shit
20 Goto 10
I won’t waste any more time with it. I failed to find even a glimmer of hope, a shred of anything useful, interesting, different, nuanced, sexy, exciting or even musical in it.
It’s a piece of turf (without the potential energy of said sod)
But that’s not really the issue.
Good luck to Conor O Brien – some people like this sort of thing. No the issue is the pages of sparkly reviews, puff pieces, big ups and others of their ilk spattered across the pages of actual inky news papers, the blogosphere, facecrack and the twitterverse.
The issue is that a lie is being sold here: a king with no clothes is being marketed as an emperor in glorious threads.
Type the words “Villagers album review” into the Oirish version of yer trusty search engine and you’ll come up with a selection like this:
Limerick leader: “RARELY has an Irish album release been accompanied with such universal expectation. Likewise, it is rare that such expectation is accompanied by a fulfillment of potential. This is the exception to the rule.”
State Magazine: “Becoming A Jackal is a fascinating record, showcasing O’Brien’s knack for penning fragile, intimate masterpieces.”
NME: “the sound of heart strings being sawn.” (Sounds like top fun that!) (8/10)
Jim Carroll OTR/ Irish Times: “Becoming A Jackal” has haunted me since I first heard the songs. Like all the best experiences, I wanted to dive in again right away and relive the highs all over again because it was truly something to relish.”
Is there some stunning phantom Villagers album out there away from the mediocre dross with a twist that I heard?!?
Strangely, well maybe not so strangely, the “dirty foreigners” of pitchfork media with a more considered 6.9/10 insert a small well fashioned pin into the hype bubble:
“At the same time, the record is a bit more varied than the typical singer-songwriter drabness”
Their faint praise for me quite nicely damns up this album as it actually is.
Now Conor O Brien is young and has plenty of time to move on and try new things and good luck to him and to people who dig the singer song writer shtick but this is no option for his army of hipster fans some of whom would occasionally give you the impression of being old enough and wise enough to know better.
At least during the last recession we didn’t face complete musical bankruptcy
- SSH Special Edition: Suburban Superheroes go to the Nightmare Before Xmas
- Rise of The Mustachios.
- Real Scenes.
- Dublin Slowly Becomes A Ghetto