What is it about the jackal that is so inspiring? I wouldn’t have expected a medium-sized, dog-like predator to be an especially muse-worthy animal, but Ronny Jordan & Dana Bryant’s epic song “The Jackal” and Bruce Willis and Richard Gere’s less epic movie The Jackal provide evidence to the contrary. Irish singer / songwriter Conor O’Brien, under the moniker of Villagers, continued this trend last spring, releasing his debut album Becoming a Jackal.
This fall, Villagers has followed up on the success of Becoming a Jackal with the release of The Pact (I’ll be your Fever), an acoustic six-track offering that features unplugged versions of “Love Minus Zero” and “I Saw the Dead,” as well as new songs like “On a Sunlit Stage.” Drawing its success from multi-instrumental melodic depth, Becoming a Jackal balances an atmospheric indie folk quality with a youthful energy, resulting in an updated Paul Simon-like sound. Unfortunately, aside from the album’s namesake—which is actually the same version from Becoming a Jackal—the acoustic tracks from The Pact lack that essential engaging element. The songs aren’t bad, they just don’t really add anything to the originals that wasn’t there already. Instead, they come off as a little boring.
I think the problem is that CD is the wrong medium for these acoustic versions—I can see myself really enjoying The Pact if I heard it straight from O’Brien as he was chilling in my living room serenading me f2f. Alas, I think he’s in Ireland right now, so I’ll just stick to Becoming a Jackal when I need my Villagers or Anubis fix.
Top Tune: “The Pact (I’ll be your Fever)”
– Emma Forster, co-host of Regional Rotations: The Next Generation, Wednesdays 3-4pm on WGTB