Album Review: Thankful Villages, Vol. 1 by Darren Hayman
Great, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
From prolific British popsmith Darren Hayman comes this curious collection of musical dedications to 18 of the U.K.'s Thankful Villages. Following the First World War, writer and journalist Arthur Mee coined this designation in his series of guidebooks to indicate villages where every soldier returned home safely. Hayman, the former brain trust of critically lauded indie outfit Hefner, has always shown a penchant for peculiar, historically minded projects, especially during his solo career.
One of Hefner's loveliest songs, 'The Greedy Ugly People', ends with the phrase "Love... don't stop no wars; don't stop no cancer; it stops my heart," repeated over and over. Love might not stop wars, but it certainly helps. And for the 54 'Thankful Villages' visited for former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman's latest project, luck came into play too.
Prolific singer-songwriter Darren Hayman likes to make records that are thematically immersive: recent projects include Chants For Socialists, an album based on the poetry of Victorian writer, designer and all round good egg William Morris; Lido, an album about outdoor swimming pools; and The Violence, a double LP about 17th century Essex witch trials. Often, as with Lido and the Essex Trilogy that culminated with The Violence, these concept albums are grounded in particular places, and that’s very much the case with his latest project. A Thankful Village is a village to which every soldier who fought in World War I returned home alive.