If the great god Poseidon made a record it could not be wetter than the puddly emanations of Irish good-for-nothing Damien Rice, a member of that lowest of all pop castes the singer-songwriter. Singer-songwriters need a gimmick, the simple truth being that a man, his soul and his guitar gets boring in an eye-blink. Paul Simon’s gimmick is that he is old; Cat Stevens is a Muslim; Nick Drake is dead and so on.
Damien Rice, a latecomer to this party (and imagine how bad a party must be that started with someone getting their acoustic guitar out) has a particularly irksome gimmick – he continually sounds as if he’s losing his voice. “Yes! Yes!” you sob in relief as his larynx sputters and peters during “Cannonball”, then time and again your hope is dashed as he makes it to the end of the song. Troubadours and minstrels used to be homeless buskers, driven from city to city (by baying mobs I hope) with the odd groat and a good bumming from Richard I being their only reward. Would that this were still so! (With Richard the Lionheart replaced by, oh, Richard Littlejohn maybe).