Damien Rice: ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’

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After an eight-year hiatus from the studio, Damien Rice has released his third album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy.

Since his last studio release, 9, in 2006, Rice has been touring and working on collaborations with a multitude of artists, including Ray LaMontagne and David Gray. Rice’s last individual release was a live album in 2007, Live at Fingerprints: Warts and All.

Although it’s been almost a decade, fans of Rice don’t have to worry about this album being a complete re-vamp of his soft style.

My Favourite Faded Fantasy is a collection of rainy day music, complete with piano, guitar, violin, and Rice’s signature raspy, soothing vocals.

The album begins with the title track, a mysteriously dark and high-pitched melody. As the song builds, layers of different instruments and distorted sounds metabolize into a grander picture that defines the album, then ends abruptly.

The second song, “It Take A Lot To Know A Man”, introduces Rice’s familiar use of violin and catchy yet profound lyrics. However, from there, the album seems to ride a steady stream of a lot of the same.

Golden tracks include “I Don’t Want to Change You” and the beautiful eight-minute long “Trusty And True”, which oddly, holds a slight reminiscent feel you could compare to that of The Decemberists.

The album rounds out with a token Rice tune, “Long Long Way”, featuring slow, repetitive lyrics that are supported by ghostly female backing vocals and a plethora of soft instruments, including a clarinet that helps the album fade out.

Whereas many of Rice’s most popular slow ballads provide an array of technical instrumental solos or surprise monk-like vocals, the majority of My Favourite Faded Fantasy has a simpler feel.

For die-hard fans, the album would be considered a great and long-awaited response to 9; for long-time listeners and more surface level fans, the album has a couple of solid, interesting tracks that uniquely fit with Rice’s previous work. However, for virgins of Rice’s music, this album is not suggested for your first listen.

Compared to 9 and the album that shot him to success, O, My Favourite Faded Fantasy is, for the most part, a mundane compilation. The album is far from “bad” and still holds a couple of great songs, but the album as a whole doesn’t rise to the same of level of Rice’s previous masterpieces.

Although the Ireland native’s newest album has skyrocketed to number one in his home country, I’m not sure it will do the same outside of the U.K.

While My Favourite Faded Fantasy is a good album to flip through on a drizzly day, refer back to O to soak up the true brilliance of Damien Rice.

3/5

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