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The Art of Pretending to Swim Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth full-length release for the solo project for the Irish singer-songwriter Conor J. O'Brien was self-produced.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Q Magazine
    Sep 17, 2018
    It's an impressive reminder of what made him so special in the first place. [Oct 2018, p.119]
  2. Sep 17, 2018
    The Art of Pretending to Swim is an album that will reveal itself after a few listens.
  3. Oct 15, 2018
    O’Brien isn’t afraid to tackle heavy subjects (there are songs about self-doubt, faith and even a tribute to 19th century mathematician Ada Lovelace), but it’s all pushed through with a real lightness of touch that means that it’s easy to give The Art Of Pretending To Swim plenty of repeat listenings.
  4. Sep 17, 2018
    Much like Villagers’ previous releases, the overriding feeling is of well-crafted, thoughtfully structured songs. The intimacy created by O’Brien’s delicate voice is as ever enhanced by beautifully chosen tonal colours.
  5. 80
    Villagers fans will no doubt love this record, which has the capacity to obtain a new fanbase with O’Brien’s newly found sound.
  6. Sep 24, 2018
    There's an intricate balance struck between analogue and digital, between raw confession and meticulously engineered sonic detail.
  7. Sep 18, 2018
    The inevitable has caught up with O'Brien, who finds himself struggling to stay afloat on The Art of Pretending to Swim. The self-produced record dives into murky waters in an ambitious attempt to incorporate an electronic flair to an already complete set of folk tunes.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 29, 2018
    Conor O'Brien has produced some incredible songs across the last decade or so and is arguably the standout Irish songwriter of the 2010's inConor O'Brien has produced some incredible songs across the last decade or so and is arguably the standout Irish songwriter of the 2010's in terms of not just really great songs but albums that are beautiful, interesting and experimental while all the time remaining accessible. Incredibly, album number 4, "The Art of Pretending to Swim" is his best work so far, blending all that is good about the Villagers projects into a sublime album. Highlights include "A Trick of The Light", "Long Time Waiting" and "Love Came With All That It Brings" but to be honest the whole album is majestic. Expand