Villagers to play Black Box in December

Band to perform tracks from triumphant new album The Art Of Pretending To Swim.

Villagers' Conor O'Brien is in a hurry to get to Galway.

Villagers' Conor O'Brien is in a hurry to get to Galway.

IT IS possibly the most surprising declaration to open any Irish album, certainly this year, or of any year in recent times: "I've found again, the space in my heart again, for God again, in the form of art again."

This is from 'Again', the opening track on Villagers latest album, The Art Of Pretending To Swim (Domino ). Given we live in am increasingly secular Ireland, such an unapologetic announcement of faith bucks the trend, especially when the artist has previously admitted agnosticism and atheism in the past. "I have this strong urge to believe," Conor O'Brien said. "Call it love, togetherness, God, whatever. But you can’t argue with faith, which is a terrifying prospect! Though there’s a lot of beauty in it too.”

The Art Of Pretending To Swim is O'Brien's most experimental album since {Awayland}, but whereas the latter was often overblown and self-indulgent, ...Swim is sonically gentler, more tightly focused, its mixture of synths, hip hop brass, grooves, ambient electronic atmospherics, and sampling blend well, and effortlessly, with the more traditional instrumentation of acoustic guitar, piano, and violin. This culminates in closing track 'Ada', which begins as a Air-esque swoon of balmy, psychedelic, lounge-core, before an abrupt and thrilling segue, where an acoustic guitar figure plays out over an electronic backing not unlike Pink Floyd's 'On The Run'.

Villagers will perform tracks from this album, and from across their illustrious back catalogue, at the Black Box Theatre on Thursday December 13 at 7.30pm. This is a 'Róisín Dubh presents...' event. Tickets are available from www.roisindubh.net; the Ticket Desk at [email protected], Shop Street; and The Róisín Dubh.

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