In 2003, Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice wooed listeners with his debut, O, a collection of songs that displayed his (and counterpart Lisa Hannigan's) poignant yet interesting and intelligent vocals over quiet guitars and strings. On O, Rice was able to come off as sensitive and emotional without seeming sappy or cheesy, a difficult balance to attain, and certainly an impressive accomplishment. He was also able to write simple, pretty songs that still managed to have a voice and style of their own, and stick out from the rest of the acoustic guitar folk-pop.
Aheartbreak album for those who weep along to vintage Radiohead and Leonard Cohen rather than George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Damien Rice's 2002 debut, titled 0, was multi-platinum balm for the newly dumped. His second album finds him no longer trembling on the brink of romantic meltdown, but wallowing in the deepest pit of despair. He quivers, moans and pleads in obsessive contemplation of the darling departed in a self-dramatising simulation of catharsis that wrings from his performances an ocean of emotion when a drop of understated restraint would prove more telling.