It’s been over two years since Villagers released Becoming A Jackal, in the interim touring the world and Conor, armed with his trusty guitar, walking every nook and cranny in every city they played. When they tour the new album, due out at the end of this year or early next year, preceded by, in Conor’s words, a bunch of singles, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be able to do the same thing with ‘The Waves’. It’s different to not just Villagers’ output to date but almost every other guitar band you can think of. Like, who puts morse code running throughout a five-minute track? It’s an ambitious track, and one that crashes to shore and throws everything overboard at the climax. (A quick sidenote: the first EP opened with a track entitled ‘Down Under The Sea’, continued on the album with ‘Ship Of Promises’, and now, the new Villagers voyage begins again with a nautical theme. I doubt they are linked, but I wonder if Conor’s favourite place to write is sitting on a rock with a notepad looking out onto sea.) When I went to see Villagers in Dolan’s in June I said that ‘The Waves’ was the biggest departure to date. It sounds even further out avant garde now. He told Zane Lowe last night it’s quite a departure and might shock people, but that that’s a good thing. But unless Villagers did their best Muse-covering-Skrillex impression (*shudder*) then I was never going to throw my computer out the window. I love how Conor’s voice sounds so delicate at the start, how the bass soothes us when we don’t know what’s on the horizon, and… wait, is that a sax in the background? Welcome back, Conor. Welcome back, Villagers. I missed you. Download ‘The Waves’ on iTunes. It’s out on 7″ in October. The video, which is really cool and mesmerising, was directed by Alden Volney.