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Live From Union Chapel

An acoustic live record stripped back to its bare essentials, Live From The Union Chapel, in its simplicity and frankness, showcases the essence of Rice.

Rating: 7 / 10

Adrienne Murphy, 03 Dec 2007



Here’s a cute collectable for Damien Rice fans: eight tracks recorded live from a concert that he gave in London’s Union Chapel back in 2003.

All of them tend towards the languorous, poignant and slow. ‘Delicate’ introduces Vyvienne Long’s stirring cello and the angelic vocals of Lisa Hannigan; a burst of applause greets the opening refrain of the massive international hit ‘The Blower’s Daughter’; and a particularly passionate version of ‘Volcano’, with Rice and Hannigan alternating their vocals, reminds us that this song – with its vulnerable sentiment of “Don’t drag my love around” – must rank as one of the most painfully truthful duets ever written.

The other tracks are sad and slow: ‘Then Go’ features Hannigan as lead vocalist with Rice in the background; ‘Baby Sister’ is no less melancholy; ‘Be My Husband’, written by Andy Stroud, has lead vocals again supplied by Hannigan (the only track with percussion on the record). ‘Amie’ and ‘Silent Night’, meanwhile, bring the CD to a soft close.

An acoustic live record stripped back to its bare essentials, Live From The Union Chapel, in its simplicity and frankness, showcases the essence of Rice. The high quality of his songwriting, vocals and musicianship – alongside that of his band – negate any need for fancy padding. And the recording, peppered with applause, whistles and cheers, captures the expansive acoustics and sense of intimacy and reverence of that night in the Union Chapel four years ago. Damien Rice trainspotters will make a bee-line for it, but this gentle CD would also make a good starting point for newcomers to Rice’s distinctive brand of folky pop-rock.


Rating: 7 / 10
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