March 22, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: New album explores complexities of love

"Darling Arithmetic"


Passionately loving someone else while respecting and loving oneself is a fundamental difficulty that drives indie group Villagers’ third and most recent studio album, “Darling Arithmetic.” Villagers have nicely changed their tone from upbeat to angsty and slow. The album’s main theme is love, both love for oneself and love for others. Though the album is only nine songs long, each track has a different aspect to it that listeners will be able to understand and connect to emotionally.

“Dawning On Me,” the standout track on the album, links a slow repetitive guitar composition, quiet piano chords and harmonic somber vocals about longing for a loved one. The instrumentals of the song are beautiful enough, but when layered together with the singer’s melancholy vocals, they make the song one of the best on the album.

The most powerful song on the album, “No One To Blame,” starts off with a fun, slow piano melody, and then low, solemn vocals are introduced with messages of broken promises, heartbreak and the song’s main message: It’s important not to change so much for a lover that a person becomes an “empty broken shell.” The lead singer, Conor O’Brien, used this album to come out as gay, making this song one of the most important.

The best part of the album is the way O’Brien shows his emotion through his vocals. Whether singing with a high and drawn out tone or slow and low vocals, the variety of his voice does a great job of showing each track’s emotions and his pure talent. “Darling Arithmetic” brings Villagers into a new realm and genre but was a risk worth taking as the album is by far one of the best of the year.

Ashley Wolf can be reached at or via Twitter: @@ashleyjcwolf