As I listen to Damien Rice’s latest album I have to remind myself that this is only his 3rd full length album. How can one artist seem so prolific after releasing just 3 albums in a 12 year time span? Easy – consistently producing hauntingly beautiful music that stands out among a music industry prone to bubblegum and clatter.
After an 8 year break, Rice has returned with his third full length album My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Rice retreated to Iceland during his long hiatus. With no new music since 2006’s 9 – the long break had many fans like myself wondering when we would hear from the Irish singer/songwriter. Thankfully, Damien Rice has returned with an album that is true to form and definitely worth the wait.
Rice joined forces with producer Rick Rubin for this effort -- the result isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but the collaboration has only intensified the drama that lies underneath all of Rice’s music. Fantasy has all the introspective lyrics that Rice is known for – full of regret and honesty. The string arrangements on this album may be the best of any Rice album – particularly on It Takes A Lot To Know A Man. All the hallmarks of a Damien Rice album are present – beautiful guitar work and songs that generally smolder and build up to a climax. The single The Greatest Bastard could easily come off as trite and self-indulgent, but Rice’s phrasing and vulnerability save the song. With several songs surpassing the 5 minute mark the album never gets tiresome.
My Favourite Faded Fantasy cements Damien Rice’s place among the best contemporary singer/songwriters. Let’s just hope he doesn’t keep us waiting another 8 years for his next effort.
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