Listening to his hits like Cannonball, Volcano and 9 Crimes often makes for a haunting experience.
A conversation with the soft-spoken man behind those songs is equally gripping.
Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice has a way with words, stringing them so beautifully and carefully that his thoughts come across as lyrical prose.
Explaining his disappearance from the music industry for the last eight years, Rice said: "Imagine a garden in your head. Imagine walking on the grass to go to the shops, then to school. Imagine that you keep walking across that same patch of grass over and over again.
"When you walk often enough, the grass dies. It was the same with me."
Rice, 41, was talking to M on the phone from Berlin where he was promoting his latest album My Favourite Faded Fantasy.
His third offering comes after a long silence - he released his successful debut album O in 2002 and its follow-up, 9, in 2006.
But what followed the initial triumph was something he described as "a crash-and-burn" in a report in The Irish Times - a suffocating routine, an overwhelming pressure and the demise of his professional and romantic relationship with collaborator and Irish singer Lisa Hannigan.