{Awayland} - Villagers
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16

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  1. Jan 30, 2014
    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.
  2. May 1, 2013
    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 bar painstakingly high for Villagers next release. The Irish group have set an example for all folk groups to learn from.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Jun 6, 2013
    Occasionally a lick of whimsical Irish poetry sneaks in (Earthly Pleasures), but lyrically O’Brien’s going for something more vague and profound.
  2. Jun 4, 2013
    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.
  3. May 29, 2013
    A musician capable of creating lush if sometimes unlikely arrangements, he uses his particular prowess as a means of fashioning spectacular soundscapes.