Dublin-born songwriter Damien Rice's debut album has already received a warm stateside welcome as an import.

Dublin-born songwriter Damien Rice's debut album has already received a warm stateside welcome as an import. The response is not surprising: Rice's striking, imaginatively arranged songs about rocky romance hit the emotional mark, while comparisons to the work of Jeff Buckley and David Gray are on the money. Rice's homespun, affecting voice receives excellent support from vocal partner Lisa Hannigan and cellist Vyvienne Long (who leads a host of string players). The appropriately titled "Delicate," the lush "Amie," and the explosive "I Remember" are merely the best tracks on a highly consistent collection. Though noncommercial radio is providing the initial liftoff, there are obvious pop radio possibilities here for Ken Levitan and Jack Rovner's new label and its star in waiting.—CM