By Damien Rice
Damien Rice's debut album 'O' saw him reach a great success, and as a result of this I couldn't wait to get my hands on '9' to find out what the Irish singer/songwriter had been doing for the past four years.
His new album, '9' sees Mr. Rice doing what he does best, or if you would prefer to be more cynical, what he always does. The opener '9 Crimes' presents us with a chord progression that pays homage to 'If God Was One Of Us' and daringly the first voice that reaches our ears is that of Lisa Hannigan. Already I know what's in store: powerful, emotion-laden songs with tuneful melodies to make you weep all night long, so, not too much change from 'O' then really. 'Rootless Tree' begins with a predictable acoustic guitar melody that wouldn't sound out of place on a mid 1990's boyband single, but somehow manages to transcend into an incensed, melancholy hate song. Flashbacks to Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, Damien similarly screams: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you and all we've been through. Trademark DR is shown in 'Dogs' and 'Grey Room' sounds about as interesting as the title of the song, but there are sparks of beauty in this, his second album.
A definite highlight has to be 'Elephant' a passion-fuelled number, with Damien practically crying into the microphone; this is a perfect display of his beautiful voice and his unique talent. 'Me, My Yoke And I' shows a hint of experimentation, a different direction from the usual singer/songwriter acoustic strumming; a slightly eerie, dissonant guitar part enters our ears, with a vocal melody similar to what would be expected from 'Thom Yorke'.
Overall, '9' is not as fresh and powerful as 'O' was, but it's still worth a listen.