Album of the week

The new album by Damien Rice, My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Photo: PA Photo/Handout
The new album by Damien Rice, My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Photo: PA Photo/Handout

My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Damien Rice

Make of him what you will, but there is little doubt Damien Rice knows how to write a tune to tug on the heartstrings.

Known for his hiatuses, the gap between his second album and third record My Favourite Faded Fantasy is at its widest yet.

It has been eight years since 9 – the 2006 follow-up to 2002’s stunning debut O – was released and the Irish singer-songwriter from Kildare now feels ready to return.

The 40-year-old crooner has gone for quality over quantity on My Favourite Faded Fantasy, choosing just eight tracks.

His minimal yet bang-on orchestration turns The Greatest B*****d from a good song into a great one, ‘epic’ is the only way to describe the sweeping strings towards the end of Colour Me In, while I Don’t Want To Change You is a real highlight and could enjoy the same popularity as Cannonball.

The title track evokes Hushabye Mountain from classic Sixties film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, It Takes A Lot To Know A Man finishes with a snarl and Long Long Way is an emotive closer.

Well worth the long wait. Rating: 9/10

○ Placebo will be playing an 18-date UK tour in February and March 2015. They kick off the gigs at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on February 26 before heading to Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Visit www.gigsandtours.com