If anyone was poised to profit from the Mumford-ization of pop, it was Damien Rice, the Irish troubadour whose bleeding-heart folk ballads became inescapable at open mic nights worldwide. (Baristas and bartenders know: You can’t take your ears off of them!) Better late than never, Rice is back this fall with the Rick-Rubin-produced My Favourite Faded Fantasy, his first album in eight years. Along with the album announcement, he’s shared a short acoustic-orchestral number that serves as the intro for the title track, and it might be the prettiest and most properly epic-sounding piece of music he’s ever released. The gentle slow-build clocks in at under two minutes, just as the heightened drama reaches its breaking point and the orchestra seems about to burst. As someone who always found Rice’s signature song “The Blower’s Daughter” a bit too melodramatic, I’m pretty impressed with what he’s done here, and I’m officially curious to hear official lead single “I Don’t Want To Change You” when Zane Lowe premieres it on 9/23. In the meantime, let’s listen to and discuss these precious few seconds of new Rice material.
My Favourite Faded Fantasy has a whole slew of different release dates — 10/31 in Ireland, 11/3 in the UK and Europe, 11/7 in Australia and New Zealand, and 11/11 in North America — all via. Warner Bros. Pre-order it here.