DRM – 2002 – 61 minutes

The days when Rice fronted the pedestrian Juniper seem a long way off and the beauty of 'O' will stretch the distance even further. Recorded at his house and friends' places over the course of two years, he sounds both down home and polished without ever getting swallowed up by the conventions of either.

While the one-hour plus running time might make some shy away from tagging along with 'another singer-songwriter', Rice's journey has enough to occupy even the fussiest of companions. The names of the opening duo, 'Delicate' and 'Volcano', sum up 'O's gentle appeal and emotional intensity; where strings nestle down with acoustic guitars and Rice shares the limelight with singing soulmate Lisa Hannigan.

It's an album that gets sadder with every listen, but better too. And while it sometimes dips in the later songs, there's more than enough pain and poise here to suggest that he'll be a fixture in your future.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Delicate - Volcano - The Blower's Daughter - Cannonball - Older Chests - Amie - Cheers Darlin' - Cold Water - I Remember - Eskimo