Damien Rice - Live From The Union Chapel
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on 2007-03-06 paperslut Said:
I don't know why, as an artist title, the name of the Damien Rice crew and band per se is just 'Damien Rice'. Okay so he writes the songs, but seriously, it's Lisa Hannigan who has the class as a singer. That is not to say that Rice himself is a poor vocalist. As an Irish troubadour and perhaps the vanguard of the now mainstream folk 'scene' he's quite qualified as a singer. But somewhere in the middle of Live From The Union Chapel (at the song Then Go to be precise) you realise that there is a definite problem in the balance of power.
As the name suggests, this EP was recorded at London's Union Chapel in what seems to be a pretty intimate setting. You can picture a small room, without too many windows and just about a hundred people seated comfortably in lounge chairs. Rice and Hannigan take the stage side by side backed by a string section that includes a few violinists and one lady on the big bass. For a live recording, the conditions are just about perfect.
Delicate starts off just as it does on O. The acoustic guitar leads Rice's voice into the lyrics and Hannigan backs him brilliantly. The case is the same throughout the EP. The crowd pleasers are all there - The Blower's Daughter, Volcano and Amie. It's all pre-9 material. But really, that's not what makes this EP stand out.
The performance fades in and out of tracks like something has been left out, or the applause has been added. It could well be a studio recording, if not for the arrangements.
Eventually, we get to Then Go which is Hannigan by herself with the string section. At first, she sounds almost child-like, the lows being a problem, not visibly, but you know she's avoiding completing the lines. But she doesn't falter, and builds slowly into the first chorus, stretching the words just a little bit, like she's playing with the audience. She's fighting with herself to let it out, but she knows she has to wait. And in the second chorus, backed by Rice, she lets it out. And it's absolutely beautiful. If you needed a reason for getting this EP, this one song would be it.
Hannigan's also solo on Be My Husband and the brilliant rendition of Silent Night ("I just found some hate for you, just for show. You found some love for me, thinking I'd go). She leaves you wanting more of her, and you know three songs is just not enough.
Oh, Damien Rice is decent.
Lisa Hannigan will be out with her own LP sometime this year. I highly recommend you get it.