Courtesy of the artist.
Irishman Conor O'Brien is the mastermind behind the subtle and captivating Villagers.
Irishman Conor O'Brien is the mastermind behind the subtle and captivating Villagers. Courtesy of the artist.
- "Becoming a Jackal"
- "Set the Tigers Free"
- "The Pact"
- "Twenty Seven Strangers"
In Ireland, the soft-spoken and contemplative band Villagers burst onto the charts with a roar. Conor O'Brien, the band's frontman and creative force, is a captivating performer and songwriter. Those qualities and his 2009 EP Hollow Kind earned him a roster spot on esteemed Domino Records. His full-length debut, Becoming a Jackal, lived up to the expectations and had the music press comparing him to U2. Last month, the album was nominated for the U.K.'s Mercury Prize.
The record's arrangements are sparse, with O'Brien recording every part himself (outside of the brass and strings). But it's O'Brien's lyrical style that captivates — even when alone with a guitar, his metaphors and winding narratives force an attentive silence.
O'Brien visits the World Cafe solo to perform an intimate four-song set. He chats with host David Dye about his creative process and the themes and influences inside Becoming a Jackal.
This segment originally aired on August 3, 2010.