Label: 1967 Ltd.
Ireland's Damien Rice's quiet debut was the kind of surprise worldwide smash that would cause most artists to try too hard the next time out. Thankfully, Rice is confident enough to just get on with things. His relaxed, off-the-cuff style makes his spare, emotionally violent odes all the more powerful as they float out on subtle or startlingly ornate orchestrations. Just listen to the achingly beautiful "The Animals Were Gone" and discover how success doesn't have to go to your head. Cliches be damned; success seems to have made Rice a deeper artist.