Irish alternative singer/songwriter Damien Rice launched his music career in the late '90s with the hard-hitting indie rock outfit Juniper. The group signed to Polygram in 1997 and released two singles, "The World Is Dead" and "Weathermen," which did moderately well on Irish radio. When it came time to record a full-length album, however, contractual rules from the label prevented Juniper from doing so, and Rice split. After a brief respite in Europe, Rice returned to Dublin to focus on music once again, scrounging up enough money to record a demo. He sent it to producer/film composer David Arnold (Björk, Nina Persson, Paul Oakenfold), and Arnold loved it so much, he set up a mobile studio for Rice to make a record. His first single, "The Blower's Daughter," was a Top 20 hit when it appeared in fall 2001, and Rice released his debut album O early the following year. The album soon spread across the United Kingdom, hitting Top Ten on the British charts and earning four-times platinum status. Rice hit the states in 2003, earning himself a dedicated group of American fans in addition to his European ones. After issuing a collection of B-sides in 2005, the Irishman released his sophomore record, 9, at the end of 2006. The album hit number one in Ireland, top five in Great Britain, and became his first record to reach the Top 40 in the U.S. After heavy touring, including an appearance at Glastonbury and a support slot for Leonard Cohen in Dublin in 2008, Rice pulled back a bit. Finally, in 2014, he announced a small show at the 25th Anniversary celebrations of Whelan's, a venue in the Irish capital. His third album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, was produced by legendary American producer Rick Rubin, and released in November 2014. The album again reached number one on the Irish charts, and did well across Europe.
© MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo
© MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo
12 albums sorted by Most acclaimed
Narrow my search
Pop - Released November 7, 2006 | 1967 Ltd.
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. Needless to say, because of all this, he definitely put some pressure on himself for what he would present on his next release. What he turned out, 9, unfortunately shows signs of a sophomore slump. There are still some great tracks on it -- the stellar "The Animals Were Gone," the Dylan-esque "Coconut Skins" -- and to give him credit, Rice ventures into other genres, using a piano more frequently and even an electric guitar once or twice ("Me, My Yoke & I" is a rock song, no two ways about it) along with his usual timid acoustic accompanied by orchestral strings, but where before he was able to write love songs that didn't come across as clichéd or affected, on 9 (which, incidentally, has ten tracks) he seems so aware of the danger of coming off as trite that he tries too hard to overcome it, and ends up with something that seems very forced. For the most part his melodies -- excluding the aforementioned pieces -- are nothing more than unmemorably nice, but when coupled with hooks like "The girl who does yoga/When we come over" (from "Dogs") and "Does he drive you wild?/Or just mildly free?" (from "Accidental Babies") they become memorably painful, which takes away from what's actually great about 9: namely, the musical arrangements and Rice's voice (Hannigan, though she begins and ends the album, is hardly present), whose emotion ranges from dejected apathy to anger and is always pretty believable. 9 is by no means a failure, or even bad, but it dulls in comparison to what Rice can really produce, which makes it disappointing overall. © Marisa Brown /TiVo
News feed Prev. Next
yesterday Qobuz | Bongeziwe Mabandla, solar afro-folkTue Qobuz | Avishai Cohen: This Time It's Different
Sat Qobuz | Initials B.D.Fri Qobuz | Sorry, the best excuseThu Qobuz | Dana Gavanski: new star of the folk scene
Wed Qobuz | Kenny Rogers' musical legacyTue Qobuz | Eno x EnoMon Qobuz | The Weeknd bares his soul
Sat Qobuz | Jazz on dub with Jah9Fri Qobuz | Stuck at home? Try some opera...Thu Qobuz | Here Comes Al Di Meola
Damien Rice in the magazine