Originally published on So So Gay on 5 March 2015.
TLDR: It may not be quite as good as his previous album, but Hear Me As I Am is a confident return for Danish pop star Bryan Rice.
Shayne Ward’s version is arguably the better known, but it was actually Danish singer Bryan Rice who first recorded ‘No Promises‘ – it was his debut single back in 2005. A decade later and we’re at album number four, a whole five years since the excellent Another Piece of Me, his previous studio album.
The album opens with new single ‘Beat of My Own Drum’; it’s a promising start, but a peak that’s sadly never quite matched through the rest of the album. However, Hear Me As I Am is a solid pop album, and Rice’s distinctive vocal, with its gruff yet delicate quality, means his records are always worth a listen.
The expert Scandi-pop polish that covers each track also helps lift some of the less successful moments, such as the slightly cliched ‘Parachute’. Its suitably grandiose sound and military-tinged beat make it an enjoyable, if slightly forgettable inclusion; the worst thing about the track is the fleeting yet unwarranted use of Auto-Tune. There’s also some slightly clunky phrasing on numbers like ‘Bomb Shelter’, but with English being Rice’s second language, the odd linguistic peculiarity is forgivable.
Better tracks come in the shape of euphoric cuts ‘IOU’ (sadly not a cover of Posh Spice’s track of the same name) and ‘I Choose U’, along with the album’s title track that has the faintest whiff of OneRepublic’s ‘Counting Stars’ to it – never a bad thing. Elsewhere, ‘The Rest of My Heart’ and ‘Until This Day’ (a duet with Søs Fenger, which doesn’t quite recapture the magic Rice had with Julie on ‘Curtain Call‘) add a little balladeering to the mix, keeping the flow a varied and engaging listen.
He may not be household name here in the UK, but Bryan Rice has steadily built a quietly confident set of pop albums, to which Hear Me As I Am is a worthy new addition that pop fans should check out.
Standout Tracks: ‘Beat of My Own Drum’ / ‘Hear Me As I Am’ / ‘I Choose U’
Hear Me As I Am is available to download now from iTunes.