Sound — 9
After hearing "0" played in my parents stereo, around the age of 10, I simply didn't get what the hell he was on about. I mean, there was a song about looking to eskimo's as your friends, and lots of things far too complex for my brain, normally fed on a diet of Busted and suchlike, to understand. But when my dad went out and bought 9, he played his then favourite song to me in the car, Rootless Tree, and I loved it. Since then, I have been back to "0" and can fairly confidently say I am a converted fan. In fact, around the time of writing this article, I am going to see him live at the reading hexagon with some mates I converted. The changes over this album are fantastic, and there is no doubt that Rice is a great musician, and the folk label stuck on the cover is not really, entirely suited, so eclectic is the sound of this album. From the happy musings of songs like Animals were Gone, Dogs, or Coconut Skins, to the tender buildup to epic anthem that is Elephant, or the downwright angry songs like 9 Crimes, or Rootless Tree. My only complaint is that Lisa Harrigan isn't used as much as the previous album, and she had such a breathy, sensual voice that It made songs like "I Remember" or "Cold Water" that little bit more special.
Lyrics — 10
His Lyrics are really something special. I just adore the way you can relate to the situations he paints, and there is some fantastic alliteration and rhyming prose inside. Gems like: "He lives in a little house/On the side of a little hill/Picks the litter from the ground/Litter little brother spills" from Dogs, or my personal favorite at the moment, Accidental Babies: "Do you come/Together ever with him? /And is he dark enough? /Enough to see your light? /And do you brush your teeth before you kiss? /Do you miss my smell? /And is he bold enough to take you on? /Do you feel like you belong? /And does he drive you wild? /Or just mildly free? /What about me?" it's such a fantastic chorus, with all the questions asked to the girl. There are also some witty little snippets, like the innuendo's about sex in "Me, My Yoke and I." "My fall, my fall/My fall gonna break ya/My fall, my fall/My fall gonna break your wall/I'm in, I'm in, I'm in/Like a big dog/And I'm in, I'm in, I'm in/Like a big dog, yeah/'Cause my god, my god, my god/Gave me a rod/My god, my god, my god/Gave me a rod/For Fishing, fishing, fishing/Fishing, fishing, fishing yeah/My drum, my drum, my drum/Gonna make ya/My drum, my drum, my drum/Gonna make ya come." He is such a talented lyricist, and I think the lyrics on this album are even better than on the last, and that's something. Al the songs fit into each other, well and It is a wonderful album to just listen through. Damiens powerful tenor to sensitive higher tones are fantastic, and my opinion is that he is one of the best singers since the passing of Jeff Buckley, discluding perhaps Matt Bellamy.
Overall Impression — 10
The albums I would say this relates to are "Grace" by Jeff Buckley, because they have similar tenor to high voices, or "Trouble" by Ray Lamontagne, because of the similar personal themes in the songs. The impressive songs are 9 Crimes, Rootless Tree, Elephant, Dogs, Me, My Yoke and I and Sleep Don't Weep. I love the fantastic structure of the album, and there is very little I hate about it, except the annoying noises at the end of Sleep Don't Weep, and the less Lisa Harrigan, but even then, those are just minor annoyances. If it were stolen, I would most certainly buy it again, because although I listen to my copy in WMP most of the time it is a great album to just listen through.