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The second ‘Becoming’

November 4, 2010

Published by Metro

In Ireland, acoustic band Villagers have hit it big. They’ve topped indie and mainstream charts, headlined big music festivals and been on the cover of magazines that have as much clout there as Rolling Stone does here.

Though they’ve reached celebrity status on the Emerald Isle, and earned rave reviews from critics for their first album, “Becoming a Jackal,” Villagers have to start from scratch here. They don’t mind.

“In the history of Villagers, I’ve played more shows where we’re relatively unknown than where we are known,” says Villagers frontman Conor O’Brien bashfully. “I’m used to it.”

The band heads to New York and Boston on their own after opening a few shows for Ra Ra Riot out West. After that, they go back to Europe, and eventually home to Ireland in December for gigs that are already sold out.

O’Brien describes his music as vaguely folksy.

“It’s not like a band jamming or grooving,” he explains. “It’s very lyric-based, kind of tactile.”
O’Brien is worried U.S. audiences won’t be able to understand all of his songs because of his Irish accent.

“I’ve started pronouncing my words a lot better in the last few months. I really want people to hear the lyrics,” he says. “I think I’ve started Americanizing my English a little bit.”

Villager in the States

This is O’Brien’s third time visiting the States but the culture shock hasn’t quite worn off.
“It’s exciting for a guy from an island in  Europe,” he says. He was awed by the Southwest. “It’s amazing to see that kind of desert landscape. The strange thing is, it’s always covered up by a McDonald’s sign.”

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