The Art of Pretending to Swim is the fourth album by Villagers, the project of Irish singer-songwriter Conor O’Brien.
Following 2015’s devastatingly beautiful and intimate Darling Arithmetic, the self-produced LP is something of a sonic return to O’Brien’s more richly orchestrated earlier albums, but with a greater warmth.
There’s something so captivating about the Villagers sound, and especially this record, which projects a constant duality that is simultaneously joyous and tragic, private and extroverted, analog and digital. His soul-bearing lyrics, meanwhile, cut to the heart with the precision of a surgeon.
In short, The Art of Pretending to Swim is another stunning work of remarkable craft and nuance.