Damien Rice widens formula on latest

Published 6:01 am Sunday, December 7, 2014

I’m sure the race is on in Hollywood.

Film directors and music representatives are rushing around to secure the rights to several of Damien Rice’s most recent eight tracks for a sad romance film or an indie romantic comedy.

In the fall, Rice released his third studio album, “My Favorite Faded Fantasy.” It’s his first album in nearly eight years.

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In the past, I’ve complained that Rice has played like a one-trick pony: sad acoustic songs about lost loves. While “My Favourite Faded Fantasy” isn’t necessarily a reinvention for Rice, it broadens the spectrum and adds a bit more pop.

Hollywood is likely licking its chops for “Trusty and True,” the grandiose climax of the album. This eight-plus minute love song is tailor made to be played at the big moment where the couple gets back together and the end credits roll.

But there’s plenty of songs to mix in during the romance’s jaded moments in the film. The album’s opening track, “My Favourite Faded Fantasy,” is a sad, ruminating tune that still manages to attain a liveliness with drums, his backing musicians and some bigger moments.

“It Takes a Lot to Know a Man” begins a bit like an acoustic track off Rice’s first two albums, but then expands with drums and orchestration into something more robust.

While the songs offer more hooks and and rock/pop elements, it’s difficult — if not impossible — to accuse Rice of making a commercial album. The songs are far longer than your pop single, ranging from 5:04 to 9:33. But that’s perhaps my favorite thing about the album. Each track offers more complexity than your typical verse-chorus format, allowing Rice and his backing musicians explore the possibilities in each track.