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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'The Art of Pretending to Swim'
Artist - Villagers

For those not in the know, much like myself, in truth, Villagers are an Irish indie folk band from Dublin, formed in 2008.

As well as songwriter and vocalist/guitarist Conor O'Brien, the band currently consists of Danny Snow (bass, upright bass), Cormac Curran (keyboards), Gwion Llewelyn (drums, flugelhorn) and Mali Llywelyn (harp).

The band came to prominence in 2010 with the release of their debut album, Becoming a Jackal. Released to critical acclaim, the album was shortlisted for the 2010 Mercury Prize and the Choice Music Prize.

The band's second studio album, {Awayland} was released in 2013. It won the Choice Music Prize that year and was also shortlisted for the 2013 Mercury Prize.

In 2015 they released their third album, Darling Arithmetic, and the following year Where Have You Been All My Life? - a compilation of live reworkings of some of the band's best-known tracks. In May 2016 Darling Arithmetic won the Ivor Novello award for Best Album.

Villagers have performed at several music festivals and toured with Grizzly Bear, Tracy Chapman, Bell X1, Tindersticks and Elbow.

Restless and inventive, while always true to the power of songwriting and melody, Conor O’Brien has made another great leap forward with Villagers’ fourth studio album, The Art Of Pretending To Swim, out now via Domino.

Following the sparse, intimate aura of 2015’s Darling Arithmetic, O’Brien’s new record reconnects with the multi-faceted approach of Villagers’ 2010 album debut (Becoming A Jackal) and 2013’s {Awayland} while adding a new-found soulfulness, rhythmic nous and sonic detail.

1. 'Again'
2. 'A Trick of the Light'
3. 'Sweet Saviour'
4. 'Long Time Waiting'
5. 'Fool'
6. 'Love Came With All That It Brings'
7. 'Real Go-Getter'
8. 'Hold Me Down'
9. 'Ada'

The nine (9) songs on The Art Of Pretending To Swim balance a direct accessibility with lyrical themes embracing existential fears and hopes in this desperate, technologically-centred dystopian age we currently find ourselves within.

The album, which was written, produced, mixed and primarily performed by Conor O’Brien in his Dublin studio, opens with 'Again,' a track that summons up a lazy, hazy late summer's walk along a half empty beach, and then backs that up seamlessly with the slightly more upbeat 'A Trick of the Light,' and then the thoughtfully profound 'Sweet Saviour.'

The quietly poppy, lo-fi vibe of 'Long Time Waiting' is next and that's followed by the windows down, arm leaning Fall drive time track 'Fool.' The quiet beauty found within 'Love Came With All That It Brings' is one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by the interestingly sculptured 'Real Go-Getter.'

The album then rounds out (all too soon, for my liking) with the subtle stillness of melodies of 'Hold Me Down,' and then the lyrical craftsmanship, (very) slow-jam feel to the beautiful 'Ada.'

CD Purchase Link

Villagers @ Facebook!