Damien Rice "My Favorite Faded Fantasy"

Eight glorious, contempletive folk opuses comprise Damien Rice's 3rd release.

Damien Rice is not a man to be rushed. He’s not a careerist, intent upon gaining and keeping the spotlight. He serves the music, rather than have it serve him. One can see this in the arc of his career. He left the band Juniper in 1997 as it stood on the verge of major success. (Other members went on to form Bell X1). Following stints as a farmer in Tuscany and a busker throughout Europe, Rice returned home to Ireland and in 2002 released his debut, O. Four years later came the follow-up, 9. Despite the success of these releases Rice seemed to disappear, until now.

Like his career, My favorite Faded Fantasy unwinds slowly, inviting the listener to savor the eight orchestral folk opuses that comprise the album. Rice’s songs begin as quiet summons into evocative landscapes. Accompanied with only the sparsest of instrumentation, he pulls you in with emotionally intense lyrics. As his voice rises from quiet confessional tones to impassioned pleas, the music swells with the rising tide. Strings and horns grow more persistent, and then fade to make way for a plaintive acoustic guitar or piano. Rice’s Irish roots push to the surface on “Trusty and True,” a song one can imagine The Chieftains joining in on. Rice is, as usual, in a reflective mood and he offers plenty to contemplate in the ways of relationships. Heartache and longing have been constant in his repertoire. He is joined by a large cast of musicians, among them Marketa Irglova and Dave Rawlings.

Rice recorded the album in Iceland, and the dreamy, intoxicating nature of the songs seems to reflect the environs. My Favorite Faded Fantasy is a solemnly beautiful album that reveals its many complex layers through multiple listens. It takes patience to truly appreciate this deeply personal album.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)