Sitting somewhere between the relative conformity of Simon and Garfunkel and the increasingly meandering and distant haze of Nick Drake, Breathe Less is the perfect blend of minimalism and structure. There is just enough of a musical safety net in place, one built from sonorous, sweeping cellos, and gently chiming guitars, which ensures that the gossamer vocal threads don’t drift away on the breeze. It is an approach which Damien Rice used to put himself on the map and whilst, on paper at least, it seems like a simple approach, there are few other artists of recent times, except perhaps Bon Iver, who navigate such calm waters whilst creating so few ripples.
It is a song which feels as weightless in its musicality as it is heavy in its heart-aching sentiment, just the sound of a man with his guitar and his memories yet somehow sitting in the space between musical expression and private rumination, exposing regrets without relinquishing them. It is this balance between the public song and the private thought that makes this emotional exorcism even more intense for being so tentative.