It’s been eight years since Damien Rice, Ireland’s favorite singer-songwriter, has given us new material, which means, to put things in perspective, I was listening to Rice in middle school. And although (hopefully), we’ve all changed significantly since those braces-and-Abercrombie days, Rice has still kept his masterful, soulful energy.
Frequently compared to the likes of Leonard Cohen and Bon Iver, Damien Rice first came onto our radar as the yearning singer of “The Blower’s Daughter,” a tender and passionate tune. He is seen as one of the main pioneers of the folk genre’s resurgence into popular culture; his first studio O (2002) was enormously successful and even became Platinum in the UK. To get a sense of Rice’s early, defining work try listening to “Cannonball,” and “Volcano.” Try “9 Crimes” off his second album, 9 (2006) for a true indication of his raw, visceral heartache.
Finally now in 2014, Damien Rice has come back to us. His next album, My Favorite Faded Fantasy, is due out November 10th and is available for pre-order on iTunes. Luckily, we don’t have to wait that long for a taste of Rice’s newest work. The album’s title track is hauntingly melancholic, but contains an undercurrent of honesty and force. Rice released a teaser clip for the song’s video, which from the looks of it, is bound to be both stunning and introspective.
“I Don’t Want to Change You,” though, is the album’s first big single, complete with a beautifully crafted music video. The video features gorgeous Icelandic scenery, subtle yet jarring camera cuts, and some serious water symbolism. Rice also dances wildly in an Avant-Garde nature that, as the writers at Consequence of Sound suggest, Thom Yorke (of Radiohead fame) would certainly approve of. The video directors, Arni & Kinski, are legendary in their own right. They’ve directed a full repertoire of Sigur Ros’s widely celebrated, visually divine videos, and Florence and the Machine’s “No Light, No Light.” The song, of course, is beautiful, too, perfectly capturing the heartfelt in Rice’s signature way.
– Jenny Henderson