Before his performance at the Esplanade Recital Studio, we managed to catch Conor O’Brien of Villagers for a short live session at the legendary Snakeweed Studios. Time was tight, and we were all excited and raring to go. We were relieved to find Conor to be as affable as we had imagined, and even with his Mercury Prize nominee credentials, he still stunned us with how perfectly he nailed his takes. Album title-track “Becoming a Jackal” was crisp and urgent, dripping with a deadly honesty that rang long after the last whispers of the song and the breath-bated stillness that followed.
Riding on that hushed silence, Conor’s delivery of “The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever)” was by comparison restrained and deliberately paced. Tensions build slowly through the song, finding glimpses of release only near the end. It all seemed rather effortless, if not for the reminder at the start of the video of all the dedication and hard work that had gone into this. Before we knew it, we had to rush him off for his Esplanade soundcheck, but his songs and personality continued to ring true in our hearts. – Dan.