4.7 39
by Damien Rice

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Like Welsh singer-songwriter David Gray, Ireland's Damien Rice has a knack for weaving folk rock that's craftily compelling -- the kind of songs that slither into the subconscious rather than hit the listener over the head with immediate contagion. On this graceful debut, Rice exhibits both a soaring voice, with traces of …  See more details below


Like Welsh singer-songwriter David Gray, Ireland's Damien Rice has a knack for weaving folk rock that's craftily compelling -- the kind of songs that slither into the subconscious rather than hit the listener over the head with immediate contagion. On this graceful debut, Rice exhibits both a soaring voice, with traces of Jeff Buckley in its aching delivery, and a winsome romanticism that reaches its peak on the simmering "Volcano" and the wistful "I Remember." The disc is, by and large, stripped down, with Rice accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, but there are shadings that elevate the songs beyond mere strum-along fare. Singer Lisa Hannigan, who joins Rice on roughly half the tracks, is first and foremost among them, her languid, Chan Marshall–styled vocals providing a nice counterpoint to Rice's often theatrical take on things. On the ruminative "Coldwater," Rice tucks his performance between the folds of an eerie neo-Gregorian chant, which has much the same effect. O has its share of overly precious moments -- chiefly the epic closer, "Eskimo" -- but beneath the art, it's clear that Rice's heart beats with the purity of a man on a mission.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Charles Spano
Magnificently packaged in a CD-sized hardcover book filled with personal artwork, lyrics, and photos, Damien Rice's debut full-length, O, is nothing less than a work of genius, a perfect cross between Ryan Adams and David Gray and a true contender for one of the best albums of 2003. This Irish singer/songwriter works with impassioned folk songs that move from stripped-down to grandly orchestrated in a heartbeat. The production is reminiscent of Songs of Leonard Cohen -- simple guitars, vocals, and then those swelling strings, all of which sound like they were recorded right in the same room. Rice is master of what critic
anter Richard Meltzer called "the unknown tongue" -- basically the musical equivalent of the "punctum" in photos, it's that thing that grabs a hold of you, the detail that makes it happen. For example, on "Delicate" the strings lift the spare folk song to the heavens at just the moment that makes the song soar -- Meltzer might call it the "folk tongue" or maybe even the "epic tongue." The magnificent, melancholy, optimistic, longing, almost magical "The Blower's Daughter" comes in immediately as the previous song, "Volcano," ends -- same thing with the song that follows -- which gives the album a broad, operatic quality. The gentle "Cannonball," the bright strumming and surreal feedback on "Amie," the distant piano and oceanic harmonies (not to mention drowning, backwards vocals) on the duet, "Cold Water" -- the entire record makes the empty highway less lonely, the sunshine a little warmer, and life a little more poetic. Then there's the actual opera singer doing backup vocal duties on "Eskimo" -- a song of redemption that is Syd Barrett, is Skip Spence, is Grandaddy and is Mercury Rev and everything that implies. What a metaphor for Rice's entire hopelessly beautiful record -- one long angelic hymn for an insane world with the intimacy of a friend playing guitar in your living room and the grandeur of Sigur Rós.
Rolling Stone - Anthony DeCurtis
For all their quietness, [the songs] leave a dark, lasting impression.
Entertainment Weekly - Catherine Wise
[An] evocative debut. (A)
Blender - Everett True
[Rice's] forlorn, string-saturated songs have a real emotional poignancy, which can turn self-pitying, and aren't afraid to touch on the Big Topics in a Big Way.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Vector Records

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Damien Rice   Primary Artist,Bass,Clarinet,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Vocals
Nicholas Dodd   Conductor
Mark Kelly   Electric Guitar
Tomo   Percussion,Drums
Shane Fitzsimons   Bass
Caz   Djembe
Colm Mac Con Iomaire   Violin
Vyvienne Long   Cello
Jean Meunier   Piano,Improvisation

Technical Credits

Nicholas Dodd   Orchestration
David Arnold   Producer,String Arrangements
Steve Orchard   Engineer
Lisa   Paintings,Drawing
Damien Rice   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Paintings,Drawing
Kristiina Aittokallio   translation
Melissa Ni Chionnaith   Cover Design
Karl Toomey   Artwork

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O 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Damien Rice's first CD is refreshing, unique and is the type of CD you can listen to over and over and enjoy every song. If I had to describe him he is somewhere between Van Morrison and David Gray. A very good album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pure emotion at its greatest.. Rice has immense talent for songwriting. "O" is awesome in every way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
wonderful to listen to,a certain mood is created,soft,tender songs,great guitar playing,easy to listen to
Guest More than 1 year ago
I discovered Damien Rice by accident, but thank God I did. I have heard the entire album and I can't stop. He may sound a bit like David Grey but is still very unique, and very talented. Excellent cd, no doubt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"o" offers only ten tracks, yet Damien Rice and his harmonic chord makers, two female and two male vocalists, accompanied only by guitar and (yes) cello, with understated precision bass and drums, create more fresh sounds than needed to top any land's or year's chart for best album. Ireland and the continent got this veteran, Dublin band in 2002. Letterman, O'Brien, and Leno finally got them to the U. S. this summer for their first U. S. tour, so they could take home MTV's "Short List" first-place award among 100 CDs. Damien, with all that new material in your trunk, please bring back your glorious Dublinish guys and girls--Shane, Tomo, Vyvienne, & your vocal soulmate, Lisa Hannigan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful. He's an honest artist--it is definitely illustrated in his performances. It's difficult to categorize him, but regardless, "O" is indubitably one of my favorite classic albums.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my close friends introduced me to damien rice's music a week ago. I then went out and bought the cd. I love O it is filled with so much emotion that you can not listen to it without it touching your heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The music holds a poetic touch and warm openness, but is still tightly constructed, well produced, and highly addictive. A rare find amongst solo artists, and a masterstroke of creative effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The combination of the eerie lyrics of Rice and his female accompaniment with the hauntingly beautiful strings truly moves the soul. Also by incorperating the Gregorian chant and opera section the listener becomes completely entranced by the fullness of sound and georgeous complexity of the pieces.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best album of 2003!!! A great, great feat full of artistic originality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing record. I haven't been able to listen to the whole album all the way through once becasue I am so hooked on the first song, "Delicate". This song crawls slowly into your soul and settles there for a very long time. You can't seem to walk away from his songs, even long after you stopped listening. "Delicate" makes you want to hold on to somebody, dance, and never let go. I would love to see a collaboration between him and Norah Jones or Sinead O'Conner. I think their voices would be perfect together. In the meantime, buy this record and let yourself be moved, inspired, or simply calmed. Rarely does a record make you feel like life is perfect, even when you know it isn't.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend told me to listen to this, and she sure was right. It's lovely. My favorite is "Cheers Darlin'"
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in love with this album. You will not be disappointed. Finally, someone has done my name proud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recieved this cd this past summer for a writing camp I was to attend. I remember the first time listening to it and thinking that it really must be an aquired taste. We were given an assingment to analyze the lyrics like poetry, which they really are. It got me on the path to realizing the true meaning of every wonderful, graceful, beautiful song that is this cd. If you read this, I urge you buy this cd it's worth the money. Never have I come across such quiet music with such a powerful loudness. It will take you were you haven't been and back and make you sit back and say, "What a ride."
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have played this album a million timesand love it more every time. Sexy and amazing!!! these are the songs radio should play.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider this to be one of the best Cds I have ever bought.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love, love, love this album. He is nothing short of brilliant. Oh my goodness, I listen to the cd every day. I heard Volcanos like two years ago and loved that song, then this year I heard The Blowers Daughter and bought the cd because of that song. Only to find out that he sang a few other songs that I loved but couldn't find out who sang them. It was a very pleasent surprise. I can't wait to hear more from him. His music is simply beautiful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love this cd. i can listen to it over and over again and it never gets old. its worth every penny..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't heard an album that has caught my attention like this one has. Title soundtrack to the movie Closer (also a fantastic movie.) Simply put it haunts my soul and makes up for a true lack those "commercialized independent artists" seem to try to fill.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If anyone else performed an extensive search for the beautifully haunting song from CLOSER (Refrain: "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"), then search no more! The song is entitled "The Blower's Daughter". If you fell in love with the song....then GO BUY THE CD! I think that you will not be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
How can I review Damien Rice? His music is breathtakingly beautiful and gives you actual heartache when he sings. I bought this CD over 6 months ago, and I still listen to it everyday. Sometimes I climb up on my roof and just meditate along to 'Amie' and jog humming 'Eskimo'. Sad, I know. Damien Rice is truly a great musician and should not be missed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before the movie Closer, I had never heard of Damien Rice. Since the movie I couldnt get "The Blower's Daughter" out of my head. It is such an incredible song. It literally brought tears to my eyes. I am totally hooked on Damien Rice!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Damien Rice has such an original sound. His blend of music is stunning, the cello for the bass is perfect. Each one of his songs pulls a different one of your heart strings. The Eskimo song is sweet, the Blower's Daughter is sad (listen to the last few seconds closely)and it's also a great new version of