Music

ALBUM REVIEW | Singer/songwriter

Villagers, ‘{Awayland}”

“{Awayland}” begins as it must, with the gentle acoustic plucking of “My Lighthouse” recapitulating the heavy sigh of the Villagers’ debut, “Becoming a Jackal.” Frontman Conor J. O’Brien knows he has to reassure fans before exploring new itches. Smart move, since it’s hard to say how they would have responded had follow-up track “Earthly Pleasure” been first; with its circular ostinatos and odd, compressed momentum, it uses analog instrumentation to mimic digital glitchiness. Which isn’t to say that “{Awayland}” is a dramatic departure — O’Brien’s voice still adds an unsettling quiet to everything — only that it’s a more fitful album than “Jackal.” “Nothing Arrived” has the soul of a koan even as its simple piano and jangling guitar afford it a Springsteenian grandeur, while “Judgement Call” rides a groove of bass, marimba, and blips. None of it’s fatal. But on “Jackal,” O’Brien’s digressive songwriting was held together by a unifying palette. Here, he’s all over the place. (Out Tuesday)

MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Nothing Arrived”

away
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com