Darling Arithmetic is the third album from Villagers, set for release on April 14th in the United States. The follow-up to Conor O’Brien‘s debut, Becoming a Jackal, and its successor, Awayland – both hugely acclaimed and each nominated for Britain’s Mercury Prize – is a breathtakingly beautiful, intimate album entirely about love and relationships.
Photo credit Andrew Whitton
Darling Arithmetic was written, recorded, produced and mixed by O’Brien at home – the loft of a converted farmhouse that he shares in the coastal town of Malahide to the north of Dublin – revealing a single-minded artist at the peak of his already considerable songwriting powers. It encompasses the various shades of feeling – desire, obsession, lust, loneliness and confusion, and deeper into philosophical and existential territory, across a cast of lovers, friends, family and even strangers. Backing up his supple and emoting vocal and guitar is the subtlest palate of instrumentation – piano, Mellotron (which accounts for the album’s occasional horn and cello tones) and brushes. O’Brien plays every instrument on these exquisite, melodic songs in a sparse, spacious, acoustic-leaning fashion.
On Darling Arithmetic, O’Brien doesn’t only pare back his use of language but looks deep into his own heart and motives. The opening track and first single, ‘Courage’, concerns the most important kind of love – for yourself: “It took a little time to get where I wanted / It took a little time to get free / It took a little time to be honest / It took a little time to be me.”
Watch the accompanying video directed by O’Brien, HERE.
Now three albums in, Villagers is the front for playfulness and seriousness, mystery and revelation, an open-ended and flexible beast that can be anything its creator wants it to be. By going back to the root of songwriting, O’Brien has reinvented himself.
arling Arithmetic will be available on CD, LP, and digitally. Pre-order the album on CD or LP through Dom Mart HERE and digitally through iTunes HERE. The digital pre-order comes with an instant download of ‘Courage’.
- Everything I Am Is Yours
- Dawning On Me
- Hot Scary Summer
- The Soul Serene
- Darling Arithmetic
- Little Bigot
- No One To Blame
- So Naïve
Since the release of their debut record in 2010, one that earned Conor an Ivor Novello songwriting award, Villagers have shared stages with artists like Neil Young, Tindersticks, Fleet Foxes, and Grizzly Bear. In 2014, O’Brien made appearances at the Nick Drake tribute at London’s Rough Trade shop, and In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited at London’s Barbican, as well as playing the Ceiliúradh (Celebration) arts event at London’s Royal Albert Hall in April 2014 (including a duet with Elvis Costello on ‘Shipbuilding’).
O’Brien has performed on “Later… with Jools Holland”, “Last Call with Carson Daly”, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, WXPN’s World Café, WNYC’s Soundcheck and KEXP and was praised by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Paste and Pitchfork.
PRAISE FOR AWAYLAND
“a captivating work that gets better with each listen. Highly Recommend.” ROLLING STONE
“a stunning sophomore release” NPR MUSIC
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