O [Limited Edition With DVD] CD+DVD, Limited Edition
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O is the remarkable must-hear debut album from Dublin-born dreamer and troubadour Damien Rice. Like compatriot David Kitt, Rice is evidently a major talent, one of a select breed of loosely-affiliated modernist folk artists for whom the words "traditional" and "singer-songwriter" are hindering terminological obstacles that need to be blown clean out the way for the sake of progress. Adorned with unexpected musical twists, pleasures and textures--particularly Lisa Hannigan's fragile vocal accompaniment and Vyvienne Long's sonorous cello--O's strengths lie not only in the quality of the songs--songs that could easily withstand the thrill-free "unplugged" process--but the free-thinking adventurism that decrees that segments of operatically sung Inuit (on "Eskimo") and drowsy God-like Gregorian chants (on the truly touching "Cold Water", probably a rumination on drowning involving a discourse between a dying father, daughter and the big man in the sky) should not be off-limits on pop records.
There are moments, too, of both unfettered savagery--"I Remember" begins with Lisa Halligan's yearning thoughts on a relationship before exploding with Damien Rice's retort, a vein-bulging riot of choleric rising to a climax of discordant strings reminiscent of "A Day in the Life") and embittered, self-pity--the doleful "Cheers Darlin", with its forlorn jazzy clarinet, clinking glasses and background cocktail piano. However, for those reluctant to march with the pace of change, the delightful likes of "The Blower's Daughter" and the Nick Drake-flavoured "Amie" (with a sweetly foliating string arrangement from Rice's second-cousin, the renowned composer David Arnold) offer a more relaxed route in to Damien Rice's strangely compelling world. --Kevin Maidment
Top customer reviews
The beauty of his music is often in its simplicity, not unlike Leonard Cohen, but also the feeeling of the Lyrics. Eachsong conveys a very clear message to the listener. However, the acoustic feel of guitar and then rising strings make you feel you're almost in the music. The music always compliments the heartfelt subject of the lyrics, for example the frustration of 'delicate' with strong rising string cords, but also a chilled slow guitar lick during the more thoughful verses.
Damien is clearly a loely Irish boy, but this does not translate to the very heavy lyrics of someone like Sinead o'Connor. A cello frequently compliments his music, and is almost like another vocalist in 'volcano.' The songs often are like dialogue between two people, saying the same thing to one another, but not really listening to each other.
My favourite tracks are 'The Blower's Daughter' which then flows into 'Cannonball.' Everything on these tracks sums up the best parts of the album. The great emotional feeling is there - "I can't takes my eyes off you / I can't take my mind off you / Till I find somebody new."
This then moves into a slightly more upbeat guitar lick of 'Cannonball.' Here he laments a past girlfriend he no longer has with him, and is confused by the subsequent relationship. This moves into a triumphant chorus in which he describes what he has learnt - "Stones taught me to fly / Love it taught me to lie / Life taught me to die." The contradictions of wht each experience are obvious - "so come on courage teach me to be shy." at then end it still reverts back to his wanting the girl, this track really also is an example of great musical composition.
Other good tracks are 'Amie' and 'Cold Water.' If anyone says this album is boring, they are simply not listening. Tkae a chance, buy it, and if you like it you will love it.
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