11 Songs, 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Irish troubadour Damien Rice came out of virtually nowhere in 2003 with a debut album O that stunned listening audiences and discerning critics with its moody melodicism and earnest poetry. His long-awaited follow-up 9 is another melodically strong, romantically hypnotic collection, its only sin being its inability to be the out-of-left-field surprise of the debut. You can only jump out of the box once, after all. Rice stays true to his muse throughout, resisting the temptation to use his newfound celebrity as a soapbox or a launching pad for a grab at a diverse, mainstream audience. His pulse quickens for the greater noise of "Me, My Yoke & I," but these are primarily quiet, reflective tunes that prefer whispers to screams, recorded on a "home studio" in various locations. He recalls the "living room" intimacy of Joni Mitchell's piano-based early '70s work. Rice gently plucks his acoustic guitar, lightly tinkles the piano, and harmonizes with an unrushed casual demeanor that demands the listener slow down and lean forward. Even the gentle orchestration behind "Gray Room" is kept small and intimate. But listen closely to "Dogs" or "Accidental Babies" and revel in the simple elegant aura.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Irish troubadour Damien Rice came out of virtually nowhere in 2003 with a debut album O that stunned listening audiences and discerning critics with its moody melodicism and earnest poetry. His long-awaited follow-up 9 is another melodically strong, romantically hypnotic collection, its only sin being its inability to be the out-of-left-field surprise of the debut. You can only jump out of the box once, after all. Rice stays true to his muse throughout, resisting the temptation to use his newfound celebrity as a soapbox or a launching pad for a grab at a diverse, mainstream audience. His pulse quickens for the greater noise of "Me, My Yoke & I," but these are primarily quiet, reflective tunes that prefer whispers to screams, recorded on a "home studio" in various locations. He recalls the "living room" intimacy of Joni Mitchell's piano-based early '70s work. Rice gently plucks his acoustic guitar, lightly tinkles the piano, and harmonizes with an unrushed casual demeanor that demands the listener slow down and lean forward. Even the gentle orchestration behind "Gray Room" is kept small and intimate. But listen closely to "Dogs" or "Accidental Babies" and revel in the simple elegant aura.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

254 Ratings

"9" is "9" and "O" is "O"

NYCLV,

I do not understand why people want an artist to keep releasing the same record time and time again. You love "O", that is great, listen to it. I don't want to hear "O" parts 1,2 and 3 with each album released. Ryan Adams gets crucified for this as well. "Why can't his new album be more like 'Heartbreaker?'" With that said, on to the review. Mr. Rice has taken what he does and made it bigger and better. All the compositions on this record are on a grander scale with a lot more instrumentation. Piano (like his live show) has really been injected into his songs and is very welcome. Lisa adds her anti-Damien voice when needed and is sparingly used...but to Damien's advantage. One thing I can not fathom is how he comes up with his melodies. So unconventional and fresh...especially on Dogs and Rootless Tree. Coconut Skins is probably the most Damien Rice song on this record and also Dylan-esque in it's vocal style. The one thing that stands out on this one is his anger. Seems he had a lot pent up inside and used this record as a release. I bet he comes back with a softer lighter record for his next outing. But, as for "9", it is a great progression in what I hope is a long and illustrious career.

Damien doesnt care what you think

Bandwitch,

He sings because hes a true artist, he doesnt sing for the fame, money, glamour. He sings cause he loves what he does.

About Damien Rice

Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice launched his music career in the late '90s with the hard-hitting indie rock outfit Juniper. The group signed to Polygram in 1997 and released two singles, "The World Is Dead" and "Weathermen," which did moderately well on Irish radio, but when it came time to record a full-length album, contractual rules from the label prevented Juniper from doing so, and Rice split. After a brief respite in Europe, Rice returned to Dublin to focus on music once again, scrounging up enough money to record a demo. He sent it to producer/film composer David Arnold (Björk, Nina Persson, Paul Oakenfold), and luckily for him, Arnold loved it and set Rice up in his very own mobile studio to make a record. His first single, "The Blower's Daughter," was an instant Top 20 hit when it appeared in fall 2001. Shared gigs with McAlmont & Butler and folkie Kathryn Williams followed in summer 2002 when Rice released O in the U.K. The album hit the States in 2003, which earned the Irishman a dedicated group of American fans in addition to his European ones, and after satiating all of them with a collection of B-sides in 2005, Rice released his sophomore record, 9. The album featured his long-term collaborator and then-girlfriend Lisa Hannigan on backing vocals, but on the supporting tour, they eventually split. Rice then went silent for six years without any material or shows after supporting Leonard Cohen in Dublin in 2008, but in 2014 he announced a small show at the 25th Anniversary celebrations of Whelan's, a venue in the Irish capital. His third studio album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, was produced by legendary American producer Rick Rubin, and was released in November 2014. ~ MacKenzie Wilson

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