Music

Villagers: Where Have You Been All My Life?

January 8th 2016 | Domino Recording Company | Albums

Photo: Niall Cullinane

Where Have You Been All My Life? is a collection of songs that distils five years and three albums of Villagers’ songwriting into one flowing narrative. Recorded in one day at London’s RAK Studio with Richard Woodcraft (Radiohead, The Last Shadow Puppets) and Villagers live engineer Ber Quinn, the album is a re-imagining of older material seamlessly woven with present glories from Villagers’ most recent studio album, Darling Arithmetic.

Released in April 2015, Conor O’Brien’s third album under the guise of Villagers was a more pared-back, intimate journey compared to the multi-faceted arrangements of 2010's Becoming A Jackal and 2013's {Awayland}. This fresh approach was extended on subsequent Villagers tours, where old songs were reinvented to match the new. Then for one day in July 2015, 18 songs were quickly captured and 12 songs chosen for the final album, making it Villagers’ most intense, but satisfying, session to date. These recordings are all first or second takes, and the immediacy of the occasion was part of the magic that day, live and unadorned by overdubs or studio trickery.

The unique nature of these arrangements is due in no small part to the musicians in the room at the time of recording: Cormac Curran on grand piano and analogue synthesizer, Danny Snow on double bass, Mali Llywelyn on harp, mellotron and vocals, and Gwion Llewelyn on drums, flugelhorn and vocals. The result is a lush, harmony-laden and vibrant document of a time and a place.

Included in the album is a new recording of ‘Memoir’, which O’Brien wrote for Charlotte Gainsbourg; it can be found on her 2011 album Stage Whisper, but has never before been recorded by Villagers until now.

Tracklisting:

1. Set the Tigers Free
2. Everything I Am is Yours
3. My Lighthouse
4. Courage
5. That Day
6. The Soul Serene
7. Memoir
8. Hot Scary Summer
9. The Waves
10. Darling Arithmetic
11. So Naive
12. Wichita Lineman

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