Damien Rice had the world at his feet in 2006. His second album, 9, had followed 0 into the top ten and although no single had quite struck a chord with the public in the manner of that debut’s Cannonball, his folkie guitar pop seemed set to keep him around for some time to come.
What he’s been doing since, apart from writing songs (just 8 made the cut from the 100 written for album number three) seems to have been breaking up with girlfriend and musical partner Lisa Hannigan and, erm, that’s it.
The end of that relationship is all over My Favourite Faded Fantasy, but what it isn’t is a fully fledged break-up album a la Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks or ABBA’s The Visitors. The songs flit hither and thither from the start of an affair (Colour Me In) to the I-can’t-take-this-anymore gentle explosion of The Box (“I have tried but I don’t fit into this box you call a gift”).
Musically it’s a big and ambitious sound, a thick traditional stew compared to the fragile singer-songwriter of yore, but although eight years is a long time it’s been well worth the wait.
Like this? Try these: Carole King, Tapestry; Ed Harcourt, Time of Dust
By Andrew Greenhalgh