CD REVIEW: Villagers – Awayland

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I BRIEFLY saw Villagers at an arena, supporting Elbow two years ago.

The snippet I heard was enough to make me regret not taking my seat earlier, instead of drinking overpriced, flat lager on the concourse.

Villagers’ brand of folk is the understated kind, as opposed to Mumford’s great galumphing crescendos.

This, coupled with the venue’s size (and possibly the amount of overpriced, flat lager consumed), meant I missed the delicate touches so prevalent here.

These quirky flirts with electronica occasionally feel slightly shoehorned in, but when they work, as on the dreamlike Earthly Pleasure and the trippy, oddball The Waves, they’re reminiscent of multi-layered maestros like Sigur Ros and Field Music.

They also give Awayland the intriguing, otherworldly quality hinted at by the album’s title.

Next gig, I’ll be on time.

Richard Lewis