Damien Rice: 9

PUBLISHED: 10:24 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

Perhaps the three years promoting 2 million-selling debut O allowed Damien to write this rebuke to the traditionally difficult second album, or yielded more experiences to agonise over before immortalising them in song. Either way, 9 picks up where O le

Perhaps the three years promoting 2 million-selling debut O allowed Damien to write this rebuke to the traditionally 'difficult' second album, or yielded more experiences to agonise over before immortalising them in song.

Either way, 9 picks up where O left off: piano, guitar, strings, Damien bearing his soul and Lisa Hannigan's silken backing vocals.

Highlights include current single 9 Crimes and Coconut Skins, an addictively simple arrangement married to a bitingly poetic retort to those who dare try to define him.

Though he doesn't pull it off entirely - the looping guitar and grating vocals of Me, My Yoke + I can get repetitive - the Dubliner mesmerises yet again. 4/5

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