Album Review: Damien Rice, 'My Favourite Faded Fantasy'

by

damien rice my favourite faded fantasy
Damien Rice, 'My Favourite Faded Fantasy' (© 2014 Warner Bros.)

I'll admit outright that I never gave Damien Rice enough credit. For years, I've lumped him in with what I've dubbed "dormcore": music that you would have heard wafting from multiple rooms in freshman dorms in the early 2000s. It's stuff like David Gray, Howie Day, Guster, and the early works of Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Gavin DeGraw and John Mayer. This overall sound was crystallized into amber with the Garden State soundtrack, but 2004 also saw the release of another Natalie Portman film, Closer. The film's gasp-worthy, gotcha ending is underscored by the gentle sounds of Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter," from his debut O. He released his followup, 9 Crimes, in 2006, and faded into nostalgic oblivion from there … OR SO I THOUGHT.

With the release of the lead single, "I Don't Want to Change You," from his new outing, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, my social network lit up with adulation and praise, as if an old best friend had suddenly re-emerged after a long absence. Even when I was asked to review the record as our Album of the Week, there was a part of me that still thought, "Wait, since when does everybody take this guy seriously?" As is so often the case, my own impressions have been rendered obsolete at every turn, as My Favourite Faded Fantasy does warrant the love it's received so far.

The care that went into crafting each detail of the record is apparent from the outset. Rice worked with the famed producer Rick Rubin, and the subsequent production is characteristically spotless. The sonic dynamics are a solid riposte to the "mastered for iTunes/loudness wars" mindset — for instance, "It Takes a Lot to Know a Man" features a striking landscape of peaks and valleys, ranging from gentleness to bombast over its 10-minute span.

The caveat is that this is hardly what we'd call "easy listening." It won't lend itself well to casual environments; it's tough to immerse yourself in Rice's world over the sound of chatting coworkers or beeping microwaves. But anyone patient enough to invest in full immersion will find a wealth of great wonders to enjoy.

What do you think of the album? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Stories

  • Interview: Damien Rice Damien Rice's third full-length album <em>My Favourite Faded Fantasy</em> releases today. The Irish singer-songwriter recently chatted with host Barb Abney about the new record and his life leading up to the release. After you catch the interview, enter The Current's Damien Rice <em>My Favourite Faded Fantasy</em> giveaway.
  • Interview: Damien Rice Damien Rice's third full-length album <em>My Favourite Faded Fantasy</em> releases today. The Irish singer-songwriter recently chatted with host Barb Abney about the new record and his life leading up to the release. After you catch the interview, enter The Current's Damien Rice <em>My Favourite Faded Fantasy</em> giveaway.

comments powered by Disqus