Waking up with a stinking hangover the morning after his former band The Immediate had split, Dublin singer songwriter Conor O'Brien set about penning a set of songs that would make him one of Ireland's most critically acclaimed young stars. Originally a solo project, O'Brien recorded debut Becoming A Jackal (2010) in his friend Tommy McLaughlin's attic studio in Donegal amid snow storms and idyllic countryside. The album won praise for its humble honesty, beautiful melodies and old-time warmth, as well as topping the Irish charts and receiving a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. As time progressed Villagers grew into a proper band with McLaughlin taking a more prominent role alongside Danny Snow (bass), James Byrne (drums, percussion) and Cormac Curran (piano, keyboards) and together they created a more uplifting, lush, fuller sounding second album Awayland (2013). Still full of acoustic lullabies and dreamy introspection, it earned comparisons with Bright Eyes, Elliot Smith and The Frames as it reached Number 16 in the UK and again received a Mercury nomination.




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