Damien Rice O

[Vector; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: contemporary folk, singer/songwriter
Others: David Gray, Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams

After seeing Damien Rice’s video for “Volcano” a million times at 3 AM on MTV2, and then seeing him win the Shortlist Music Award this year, I decided it was time to buy into the hype and check this Irish singer fellow out. I should have been more aware of the affects all those late night “Volcano” viewings had on me. I would always be pretty drained by the time it came on, and it usually acted as a sedative that pushed me over the edge and into slumber. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was disappointed to find out the rest of O had much of the same affect.

With all ten songs on this album slowly moving along, it makes for a pretty boring listen. Rice’s lyrics aren’t too terrible, but they’re far from anything groundbreaking. The songs seem to melt into one another, and the listener will often discover themselves lost in the tracklist. It’s good, subtle background music, but lacks the engaging quality of, say, an Elliott Smith record.

The album certainly has its strong points, though. The cello work incorporated into the songs does wonders for listenability. It adds a whole new depth to what would be somber acoustic guitar tunes. Another attribute that deserves to be praised is the female backup vocals. It’s a good break from the Irish-tinged male croon that Rice delivers, an unexpected turn in the album’s monotony, perking the ears of those suddenly-cured insomniac patients.

The album ends on two standout tracks; “I Remember” and “Eskimo.” The former uncharacteristically erupts into a moving exercise in volume. Perhaps Rice should fill his next album with more songs like these. Overall, Mr. Damien Rice has supplied us with an album worthy of some repeat plays when the whether is dreary or you’re feeling down in the dumps. He has plenty of potential and staying power with the formula he has going.

1. Delicate
2. Volcano
3. The Blower’s Daughter
4. Cannonball
5. Older Chests
6. Amie
7. Cheers Darlin’
8. Cold Water
9. I Remember
10. Eskimo

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