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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Just because the Swell Season is taking a break doesn't mean you shouldn't expect its members to keep making music. Marketa Irglova released her solo album, Anar, in 2011, and now it's Glen Hansard's turn. RHYTHM AND REPOSE offers a lot of what Swell Season fans love: heartbreaking lyrics, beautiful vocal delivery, and confident instrumentation. The biggest difference with this solo release is Hansard's delivery; this record is much quieter in its tone than the past two Swell Season albums.

RHYTHM AND REPOSE is an exercise in constrained, quiet beauty. The emotional, acoustic/stringed pattern that opening track "You Will Become," begins is a throughline that the album follows from start to finish. The song "High Hope" (along with the climax of "Bird of Sorrow,") showcases Hansard's raw vocal intensity. Irglova even appears on a handful of tracks to compliment with harmonies. This album isn't great become of what it adds, but rather, it's from what it's missing. By lending itself to a minimalist style, this collection of songs sounds confident and tasteful. The penultimate track "Philander," for example, has scarce instrumentation in the verse, making Hansard's quiet verses even more effective. If anything, RHYTHM AND REPOSE is remarkably consistent - there's not a bad song in the mix. This album further solidifies Hansard's stature as one of the best songwriters currently working. Like the Swell Season's catalog, Hansard's solo outing deserves more than one listen - repeated visits to RHYTHM AND REPOSE reveal nuance that go unnoticed the first few listens. It's a great album to close your eyes and drift away in.

Recommended for fans of the Swell Season (or any of Hansard's other work), Neutral Milk Hotel, M. Ward, or Damien Rice. Highlight songs to sample: "You Will Become," "Maybe Not Tonight," and "Philander." This has been one of my favorite listens of 2012. RHYTHM AND REPOSE is a great solo album - let's hope it finds the audience it deserves.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2012
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
The front man for The Frames and The Swell Season drops his first new music since 2009 and his first proper solo album. A musician and artist first, Hansard has struggled to come to terms with the success and higher profile that a starring role in "Once" and an Oscar win for "Falling Slowly" brought him. After laboring for years with his highly regarded band, The Frames, he rejected the notion that he should be defined by a night at The Oscars. This doesn't mean he's been able to avoid the spotlight despite struggling for normalcy in his life. The documentary "The Swell Season" documented the struggles that he and Marketa Irglova went through dealing with sudden success and the quiet slow end to their romantic relationship. They managed to redefine their relationship and revel in the joy that making music together gave them. The Swell Season went on hiatus but the task of helping transform "Once' into a Broadway musical and retain it's musical integrity has kept the past very much in the present. "Rhythm And Repose" found it's inspiration in Hansard's time living in New York and helping bring "Once" to the stage. It's unusual in it's restrained presentation which should not be taken as the idea that Hansard's passion and intensity have been dialed down. It's just that the album seems to be written in the clear eyed light of day instead of the emotionally raw, late night hours. Hansard is still a man struggling with the complexities and perplexities of the human heart. He continues to stare unafraid at the emotional wreckage of failed relationships to find the truths they reveal. They give him the strength to deal with the here and now and the determination that tomorrow will be a better day. Hansard has always been a fearless warrior of the heart. He goes deep and gives a voice to experiences and emotions that few songwriters can even manage to put to paper. "You Will Become", "Bird Of Sorrow" and "The Storm, It's Coming" are stellar tracks. However, "High Hope" and "Song Of Good Hope" will stand with some of Hansard's finest works. "Song Of Good Hope" was written for a friend struggling with cancer. The gentle urging from Hansard to fight on, move forward and reach out for the help and warmth and love of a friend will have you drying your eyes and smiling at the same time. Glen Hansard is one of the finest songwriters working today if not of all time. Marketa Irglova and her Broadway counterpart Cristin Milioti contribute vocals to the album with musical support also coming from Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon and David Mansfield.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
When I am under Hansard's spell, which happens pretty much the moment I hear his voice, I am transported out of myself into a world of sound and color, of aching sadness balanced on the knife's edge of longing. Each of the songs on this album explores the deep places of the heart, gently and probingly, but fearlessly. Hansard never lets us escape into an easy answer; he relentlessly demands honesty, and delivers it himself. If you are familiar with his work on "Once", you have seen just a fraction of what this man is capable of producing. Don't stop. Your bravery will be repaid as Hansard weaves his spell upon you as well.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 6, 2012
Format: Audio CD
When Once burst onto the scene, I was captivated by this Irishman, as were many. I love the movie soundtrack and checked out some of his earlier work with The Frames.

I would have to say Hansard up till now has seemed like a powder keg, often on the verge of rage, and often his singing would dissolve into helpless waves of emotion.

Rhythm and Repose shows us a solo Glen Hansard (with accomplished backup singers including Marketa Irglova and her Broadway doppelganger Cristin Milioti), and he is a revelation. As another reviewer has said, more repose than rhythm. He is quiet, thoughtful. The lyrics on this CD are some of his best ever.

My particular favorite, a song I listen to over and over, is Maybe Not Tonight. This song reminds me of a '70s American rock ballad, as sung by Bob Seger maybe, or the Doobie Brothers. It's about that point in a relationship when you realize you need to break up but are not ready to give it up yet. It's such a pretty tune and the lyrics just tug at my heart. It's tempting to conclude this song refers to his relationship with Marketa Irglova but I wouldn't presume to know the man well enough to say that. The song Races is also about a relationship that goes on even after the romantic part ends.

In general there is more hope in the songs on this CD than in some of Hansard's earlier work. Earlier songs like Leave and When Your Mind's Made Up were defiant and closed-off: go ahead, leave, I'm not going to try to change your mind, I'll be fine, get out of here. It's refreshing and heartening that Hansard's lyrics on this CD are more reflective and able to see the positive in a situation. It makes him more vulnerable, to open himself up to the possibilities he sees in the future, and it also makes him more eloquent.

There is one song on this CD that makes me a little crazy, and that is Philander. I guess it is about a guy who knows his girl friend is cheating on him and he is fine with that. Is it tongue in cheek? Is it sarcastic? Is it vaguely threatening? The song just bugs me - but not enough to detract from the 5-star rating.

Hansard gets a little growly sometimes which is fine. That's his trademark. But he also shows on this CD that he is capable of growing musically and lyrically. The musical arrangements are more ambitious, and the lyrics are definitely richer. I am listening to this one over and over. Every time I hear something different. A different song grabs me, or I hear something new in his voice. I just really love it. To my mind, it's his best work so far.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
On first listen, I thought the songs were too spare. But listening to it a few more times, I recognized that they were just right. The songs are stripped down, beautiful and powerful.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Glen Hansard's new album ("Rhythm and Repose") is the kind of album to curl up and listen to with a glass of melancholic red wine.

I have found myself moved to tears over and over at the quiet beauty and sadness interwoven in the music of this album. Glen's voice and the strong-but-quiet bluesy guitar blend and create an experince I've been craving for more than I have ever known. It has been love at first listen.

I've never heard of Glen before purchasing this album based on Amazon's snippets, but he has quickly risen to the top of my go-to albums.

Thank you, sir.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2012
Format: VinylVerified Purchase
Fantastic new album from Glen Hansard! Simple songs with strong impact are a hallmark of this brilliant musician- at times hopeful and yearning and at others devastating and full of despair, it's all there. Mr. Hansard has mastered the art of storytelling with music!
A CD version of the album is included, but listening to the vinyl LP version really lets this music "breathe"- as it should! I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with CD or mp3 sound. Vinyl far surpasses both by creating a listening experience- more ambient, more organic, more real. It is difficult to describe verbally and should be experienced by all! I highly recommend listening to anything on vinyl!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Glen Hansard and the Swell Season since I first heard them play on late night TV around the time Once was released. Glen's solo album, Rhythm and Repose, has been my constant background music for the past week since I first found it posted on NPR. I bought the album and haven't quit listening. This album seems more bluesy, with lots of angst over lost love. Marketa even provides vocals on a few tracks. There isn't a song on the album that I don't like but my favorites are "You Will Become", "Maybe Not Tonight", "High Hope", "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting" and "What Are We Gonna Do". Beautiful melodies with a quieter tone fill this album. You can feel and hear the sadness expressed in the music but its beauty will bring you many hours of enjoyable listening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
as i listened to the deluxe version of this i thought surely the next song won't be as good as the previous one.yet song after song continued to stun me with its beauty.this went on for all 14 songs,several of which evoked memories of cat stevens'"tea for the tillerman "although hansard has a much wider range and songwriting skills and use of instrumentation.i would put this cd right alongside of van morrison's "astral weeks".it's that good and has the same hauntingly lovely sound that he and his former partner marketa irglova evoke on the "swell season".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Seen Glen perform with The Frames and with Swell Season and always appreciated his intensely soulful approach to music. As an homage to everything Hansard, I purchased this album quietly knowing I'd enjoy it. I was more than pleasantly humbled by this album...it is an intense, genuine, personal journey he takes the listener on...the melodies, the lyrics, and his soul infused in the music will leave you wanting so much more. He is a true Irish talent and I can only hope this album receives the great praise he is so deserving of! Listen to it carefully...I've had it on non-stop since I got it! He is pure genius!
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