Sitting somewhere between the relative conformity of Simon and Garfunkel and the increasingly meandering and distant haze of Nick Drake, The Island is the perfect blend of minimalism and structure. There is just enough of a musical safety net in place, one built from the most minimal of musical vibes created by 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.
The song, a times, feels as weightless in its musicality as it is heavy in its nostalgic 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. For all its simplicity it is a powerful song, built up only occasionally by gentle beats and additional instrumentation as it makes its way to its conclusion and as is usual, less is definitely more. Much more.