sun 21/04/2019

CD: Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy

CD: Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Undoubted lyrical craft is overcooked in this manicured, melodramatic new work

'There's no escaping a slightly airless sense of self-absorption'

Damien Rice released his last album in 2006, but it doesn’t take long, listening to the lyrics of his latest, to work out what he’s been doing in the meantime: feeling very, very sorry for himself. Rice’s relationship, professional and personal, with his cellist and then collaborator Lisa Hannigan ended 2007. Autobiographical connections are easy to suggest and hard to prove, but clearly something very traumatic has happened to Rice’s love life, and it’s taken many years of travelling and the meticulous attention of producer Rick Rubin to get these songs down.

And yet there’s a lot in the music – lush, melodic, ornately and self-consciously orchestrated – that suggests a pretty robust mind in full control of manipulating its artistic purposes. By the end of the already talked-about “The Greatest Bastard”, when the strings and brass band both kick in, you’re forgiven for thinking you’ve switched over by accident to a Hollywood soundtrack describing the moment a blind orphan child recovers his sight, meets his parents and gets a puppy for Christmas. And there’s something egotistical about the whole concept: no one who really thinks they’re the greatest bastard, and is ashamed of it, would say so. It’s the kind of song you’d expect Piers Morgan to write, should he (God forbid) turn to music to bare his soul.

These are well-crafted, memorable songs, though there’s no escaping a slightly airless sense of self-absorption. “It Takes A Lot to Know A Man”, a philosophical nine-and-a-half minutes, comes closest to convincing spiritual darkness with its growly ending, though what sounds like a raindrop effect nearly destroys the track’s credibility. Otherwise, the new-man falsetto, syrupy strings, sighing backing singers, and camp-fire acoustic strumming are mannered and manicured. They’ll soothe many a gridlocked drivetime listener, no doubt. But a depiction of a soul in torment? That is a faded fantasy.  

It’s the kind of song you’d expect Piers Morgan to write, should he (God forbid) turn to music to bare his soul

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Comments

Got two songs into a stream of this this morning before it cut out. I think I've heard enough though.

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