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Becoming a Jackal

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Audio CD, June 8, 2010
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From the very first seconds of Becoming a Jackal, he’s got you. A faint drone of organ, joined by eerie strings and a cascade of piano that collectively casts a Hitchcock movie shadow before a hushed voice asks, “Have you got just a minute?” – and then the music obliges by with a similar spectral sweep. ‘I Saw the Dead’ is not just the album intro but also a ... Read more in Amazon's Villagers Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B003H6Z0IQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,765 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I Saw the Dead
2. Becoming a Jackal
3. Ship of Promises
4. The Meaning of the Ritual
5. Home
6. That Day
7. The Pact (I ll be your Fever)
8. Set the Tigers Free
9. Twenty-Seven Strangers
10. Pieces
11. To Be Counted Among Men

Editorial Reviews

Young Dubliner Conor J. O'Brien or as he likes to call himself, Villagers, is the mastermind behind the 11 varied, subtle, complex and plain gorgeous songs that are Becoming A Jackal. Conor played all the instruments (except strings and french horn) and Becoming A Jackal was recorded in Villagers home studio, with Tommy McLaughlin engineering and co-producing alongside Conor. Becoming A Jackal is a startling intro to the gripping poetry and melodic depth of Conor J. O'Brien.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 31, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Listening to BBC's great Radio 6 over the past week a song came on which was clearly an outright classic; a lost gem perhaps from Paddy McAloon, a new song from Andrew Bird or a neglected find from the vault of the late great Elliot Smith? As it turns out the song was "Becoming A Jackal" from Dublin songwriter Conor J O'Brien who records under the name of Villagers and whose band has recently supported those cherished dilettante's from Kendal - The Wild Beasts. As we speak this wonderful debut album sits on top of the Irish album music chart proving yet again the impeccable musical taste of our chums in the Emerald Isle.

Becoming a Jackal is an album bursting with O'Briens' vivid narratives, gripping poetry and melodic depth. As a debut album it oozes such confidence that O'Brien could claim this has his fifth album and not a single eyebrow would be raised. True the album gets off to a rather strange start with opener "I saw the dead" which is an ever so Gothic rolling piano ballad but which grows on repeated listened. It is followed by the already mentioned gem of a title track and other little jewels quickly follow not least the incredibly strong set of songs that compose the middle part of the album. The "Meaning of ritual" stars with a slow organ which reminds me of a James Yorkston song and builds into a delicate confessional ballad which really exposes the complete shallowness of the work of those other pretenders the Morrison's, the Merriweather's and the horrible Nutini. The pounding drums on "Home" and the tinkling piano is a tremendous foundation for one of O'Brien's best vocals and strongest set of lyrics evoking a narrative full of what Danny Carroll has noted to be "an evocative world of snakes, saints, and carnivorous scavengers".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"Becoming a jackal" is the debut CD by Irish Indie band Villagers (centered about lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Conor J O'Brien). It was recently nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in the UK. The album comprises 11 tracks of stealthy delicate beauty recalling acts like Conor Oberst, Elbow or even Pete Doherty (whom O'Brien reminds me of vocally); light airy piano/guitar/banjo/string-swathed songs rich in melody and literate lyrics.

"I saw the dead" opens the album in style, a creepy ballad with nice swirling piano sounds which builds and builds until ending with the sound of a needle falling off a record (for those who remember those). The title track is a melodic Folky piece, while the choppy upbeat "Ship of promises" features tumbling guitar sounds. "It takes you in and scrubs you clean, sanitises every dream" go the affecting lyrics in part.

The mournful "The meaning of the ritual" is a spare organ/guitar ballad on which O'Brien declares in its opening lines "My love is selfish", while "Home" has a lovely throbbing bassline and ethereal harmonies. "That day" starts off an acoustic ballad which picks up speed, "The pact (I'll be your fever)" is bouncy and Folk/Country-tinged, while "Set the tigers free" is a beautiful lulling Jazzy guitar ballad, as is "Twenty seven strangers" (with haunting harmonies). The delicate woozy Waltz "Pieces" finds O'Brien singing in a tremulous falsetto (reminiscent of Dave Mathews) against a string-swathed backdrop with some jackal-style howls thrown in for good measure, while closing is the acoustic "To be counted among men".

Quietly affecting, truly beautiful!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Mehta on July 8, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I saw the lead singer play an acoustic set of this album in Somerville MA a few weeks ago and I absolutely loved it! I'm not usually a fan of indie, having grown up in England during the "happy hardcore" era, but I put this album on my ipod immediately and have been listening to it daily.
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By lunanyc on September 21, 2010
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon on Youtube a video of Conor O'brian performing in Electric Picnic this year. He was singing "Becoming a Jackal" and it immediately struck a chord with me! I can't even put into words how this song made me feel. It was sentimental, a little nostalgic, and the lyrics were absolutely mind-blowing. Conor is a poet, I tell you!
So I quickly searched his band's music, listened to couple of them and immediately bought this album and I don't regret it a bit. I cannot stop listening to it on my iPod! No wonder Domino Records picked him up. I wish the best for him and his band! (But I sort of wish Villagers do not get big because I want to keep the best music to myself...:D)
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