Album Review: Villagers, ‘Darling Arithmetic’
Love songs are bit of a staple in music, but with Villagers' latest, Darling Arithmetic, frontman Conor O'Brien takes those sentiments a step further, using the emotion as the overall theme for the entire LP.
Examining various facets of love -- from love at first sight to the moment you realize you need to break up -- O'Brien dug deep to write about his personal experiences. However, he's admitted that he wants the tunes to be general enough to be relatable to everyone.
He makes a concerted effort of this, and he's pretty successful. Avoiding the use of "he" or "she," the songs sound more like a conversation between two people. The album opens with "Courage," a song about garnering the strength to take a step in a relationship -- whether it's to keep going or end it. This is followed by the mid-tempo "Everything I Have Is Yours," and while the title seems a little intense, there is a sweetness to it. Giving all of yourself to someone shows O'Brien's vulnerable side, and lyrics aside, it shows the dynamic that Villagers encompass. Known more for their acoustic sound, the layers in this particular track are great.
As with most experiences with love songs, Darling Arithmetic does contain some ballads. "The Soul Serene" examines that point in your life when you're ready to find that special person while "No One to Blame" goes into a heartbreak where the protagonist blames no one but himself. As delicate as the piano-driven song is, it's probably one of O'Brien's more powerful tunes on the record.
Villagers take the sonic vibes of their first two albums and find a happy medium with Darling Arithmetic, one that sticks with the listener long after its finale.