Release Date: 06.10.03
Record label: Vector Recordings
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: nick evans
I'll be straightforward first off while reviewing this album - it's great. It's sheer brilliance. In this seemingly shallow world of music, here comes Damien Rice to save it all - separating himself from his contemporaries through the use of a wide instrument array, from delicate strings to piano; from acoustic guitars to clarinets. A superstar in the UK, this Irish singer/songwriter packs a heartfelt punch into his blissful, beautiful debut, simply titled "O".
Now there is of course that inevitable comparison to Jeff Buckley and David Gray... it's just too obvious not to be noticed. Like Gray, Rice recorded this in his bedroom because he claims he "doesn't like a commercial feel to his music." Rice twists many emotions into one in his music, and at parts of the disc you can almost hear the tears in his voice, most notably in the song "Older Chests". The strings at the end of "Amie" are something awe-inspiring, indescribable. And the line "I can't take my eyes off of you" in "The Blowers Daughter" could possibly be the most helplessly romantic thing said in music this whole year.
Rice chooses to add a bit more penache to his disc with the addition of a female backing vocalist- the harmonizing and intertwining of their voices are irresistible. Musically, he seems to be exploring all aspects of being in love- the warmness, the intimacy, and most notably, the heartbreak, with the second part of the disc focusing mainly on the heartbreak. The song "I Remember" is almost like the female in the relationship's response to Rice's sad lyrics in "Cold Water". But in the middle of the song, Rice comes back for the emotional peak of the disc.
This record may be a bit too "Sleepy" or "Downbeat" for some listeners, but the whole atmosphere on the record is quiet, yet intense. What's more, this disc goes further still - it tells a whole story. It's the most beautiful thing you'll hear all year and it may very well bring tears to your eye. It's almost like hearing the sequel to Jeff Buckley's Grace.
It would be a sin to give this album a less than perfect review.
06-Aug-2003 10:11 PM