{Awayland}

  • Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Apr 9, 2013
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Jan 14, 2013
    55
    To its credit, {Awayland} rarely comes across as false, but O'Brien's affinity for cleverness over clarity ensures it rarely comes across in any real way.
  2. Mar 22, 2013
    60
    The songs are well and good, the lyrics phenomenal at times, and the music solid. Yet there are enough moments when the album falls flat to deflate the impact of those golden moments. [Mar-Apr 2013, p.96]
  3. Jun 6, 2013
    60
    Occasionally a lick of whimsical Irish poetry sneaks in (Earthly Pleasures), but lyrically O’Brien’s going for something more vague and profound.
  4. Apr 9, 2013
    60
    On “Jackal,” O’Brien’s digressive songwriting was held together by a unifying palette. Here, he’s all over the place.
  5. Jan 18, 2013
    60
    Villagers ought to be applauded for their ambition to heave themselves away from expectation, and then mourned for their lack of conviction which discards them back into it.
  6. May 29, 2013
    60
    A musician capable of creating lush if sometimes unlikely arrangements, he uses his particular prowess as a means of fashioning spectacular soundscapes.
  7. Jun 4, 2013
    60
    It’s when Villagers are at their most pure--be it on the brilliant chamber pop of Northing Arrived or the pure, instrumental pastoral of the title track--that {Awayland} is strongest; as opposed to when it’s trying to outsource itself to stylistic whimsy or fad.
  8. Jan 14, 2013
    60
    O'Brien's voice is beautiful and his songwriting often adventurous, but there are times when the aim isn't as true as it could be.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jan 30, 2014
    8
    a sweeping, ambitious album that could have been better
    awayland has plenty of merits, with Villagers making every effort not to make
    a sweeping, ambitious album that could have been better
    awayland has plenty of merits, with Villagers making every effort not to make "Becoming a Jackal II". At times this leads the listener down some interesting paths but at other times the listener is led down an uneven path that justs ends up leading nowhere. Whether Conor O'Brien likes it or not, it's when awayland sounds like its excellent predecessor that it's at its best. "Nothing Arrived", one of the albums rare moments of true pop genius, is a prime example of this.
    Overall, you can't say this is as good a record as "Jackal" despite the potential of some of the ideas present. There is evidence that Villagers could have stuck a bit closer to the formula of their first record more often, while expanding on it to keep it fresh e.g. the excellent "The Bell". There are too many points where we have experimentation for the sake of it for the record to be a great one. These "experimentation" points just don't engage enough to justify themselves.

    Overall, while it can lack the melodic beauty of its predecessor at times, awayland is a sweeping, ambitious album with plenty of excellent songwriting on display, a few moments of brilliance and the rare piece of pure genius. The thing is it could have been better.
    Full Review »
  2. May 1, 2013
    10
    No doubt the album of the year, and thus far, album of the decade. {Awayland} immerses the listener in a sonic bliss that sets the barNo doubt the album of the year, and thus far, album of the decade. {Awayland} immerses the listener in a sonic bliss that sets the bar painstakingly high for Villagers next release. The Irish group have set an example for all folk groups to learn from. Full Review »