9

Studio Album by released in 2006

9 review

Damien Rice’s talent evolution

Irish musician Damien Rice has come through a lot of difficulties before releasing his debut album O, which brought him the world fame and a reputation of an artist of a very emotional manner of performance. At his numerous and highly popular live shows Damien always manages to create a particular atmosphere and keep the whole crowd in continuous suspense. Although his music is mainly referred to the pop style the lyrics and melodies make it quite unusual and due to the vocals of his band mate Lisa Hannigan it acquires absolutely unique sounding. This year the singer is ready to present us with his second creation called 9 that has been recorded during the last couple of years and the fans could hear a significant number of songs from it on the artist’s life concerts. With the doubtless evolution of his talent Damien Rice has now turned to a darker sounding of his music, that’s why 9 is significantly different from the previous work surprising with a deeper philosophic lyrics and more intimacy in the vocalists’ voices. The album has been recorded on the musician’s own label Heffa and features his band – David Arnold, Lisa Hannigan, who plays guitar on a couple of tracks, cellist Vyvienne Long, percussionist Tom Osander, also known as Tomo, and bassist Shane Fitzsimons.

Album 9: unusual rhymes and inimitable melodies

Pertaining his unique manner of performance and an art of writing deeply touching texts Damien Rice has evidently changed the general slant of his songs, and the basic part of tracks on album 9 is filled with bitterness and pain which he delivers with his memorable voice. The delicate ballad 9 Crimes opening the record begins with the wonderful vocals of Lisa Hannigan and when Rice appears on the second verse, the two voices sound like a live dialogue between lovers. The Animals Were Gone is another soft guitar composition, which by the end turns into a real anthem refined by orchestral instrumentation and a beautiful choir, whereas on Elephant Damienat last gives full swing to his vocals making the song one of the most powerful and surprising with amazing contrasts between silence and a the richest music of different pitch. Many will agree, that Rootless Tree is both one of the most radio friendly tracks and at the same time one of the most emotional, devoted to break up and despair, and on Me, My Yoke And I Rice’s outstanding falsetto vocals continue the chain of tough and penetrating songs. Refined by a moderate tempo rhythm composition Grey Room calls for reflections and sounds like a perfect soundtrack for a romantic movie. The closer Sleep Don’t Weep is another delicate ballad, again pleasing with Lisa Hannigan’s relaxing vocals and ending the album the way it has started. With all the unusual rhymes and inimitable complicated melodies 9 can be rightfully considered a worthy continuation of Damian Rice’s career and one of the best pop records of the year.

An invaluable collection of music

Damien Rice became famous to a wider audience only in 2003 when debut O was released and later same year the singer won the Shortlist Music Prize for it. The musician started his way to glory as a vocalist for rock band Juniper, but its music did not appeal to him much and he quit the collective. The artist traveled around Europe a lot, mainly remaining in Italy, and then returned to Dublin, formed a band and after that there was no back for him – the audience found a new idol. Damien’s popularity in the USA has started growing comparatively recently, and one of the most significant events for him became the performance at a concert in New York City. Before the singer came out to the stage, Bono from U2 introduced him him to the viewers, promising them something extraordinary and admiring Damien’s remarkable talent. It was but natural, that Bono, an Irishman himself, praised his fellow countryman that much, however, after the very first song already it was quite clear he had not paltered. One of the peculiarities that attract the audience’s attention to Rice is the ability to verify his singing, which ranges from barely heard to extremely penetrating notes, always creating a stunning effect. There are enough examples of these hooks on record 9, which make it an invaluable collection of music that is sure to be appreciated by the absolute majority of listeners.