Strict Joy (Limited Deluxe Version includes CD, Live CD and DVD) Limited Edition
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The Swell Season are Glen Hansard (from the Irish band the Frames) and Marketa Irglova (classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist). In 2007, Once, a film about two people meeting and falling in love on the streets of Dublin, became an indie phenomenon, as audiences everywhere responded to the unassuming charm of the two leads, Glen and Marketa, and the beautiful music they made together. On the way to going gold, the Once soundtrack brought the Swell Season onto the stage of the Academy Awards, where the band won the Best Original Song award.
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That being said, here is what I thought:
Low Rising - This is a very strong opening number. People say that it's really Van Morrisonesque, and I suppose that I'd agree with that. Glen's voice on this track is great, and it's got a great hook. My only problem with the song, is the production. I feel like it's been bogged down with too much drone. I think that the song would be better without the brass, and with more guitar. Still, a solid and catchy opening number. 8.5/10
Feeling The Pull - This is a great song. Very folky, with an old time optimistic feel. It's catchy, nicely written, and also it's very short and sweet. It retains the energy of Low Rising and focuses it in a very different way. I do however, miss the moments when played live Glen goes into a nice falsetto and lightly strums the guitar. However, the song is still great without it, and doesn't really suffer without it's inclusion. 8.5/10
In These Arms - Beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics. Glen's vocals are hushed, which makes the song sound almost like a lullaby. The harmonies and piano bits provided by Marketa are gorgeous. The songs beauty is in its simplicity. It's very clean, dark, and yet hopeful at the same time. Fantastic tune. 9/10
The Rain - This song to me, is very Frames reminiscent. It's dark, drum driven, has a prevalent bass part, and it makes nice use of the violin.Read more ›
A quick glance at the writing credits of the new songs betrays that this is more of a Glen Hansard album. Marketa Irgolva only has a couple of writing credits. But her voice and piano are very present, and the harmonies are still sweet.
The album opens with a couple of good, solid upbeat tunes (Low Rising and Feeling the Pull). Not until the third song (In These Arms) do we get a song that sounds like the Once soundtrack, with Irglova harmonizing with Hansard over soft acoustic progressions. These three songs were released over the last couple of months as singles on iTunes but this is the first time I had heard any of them.
The fourth song, The Rain, comes back up in tempo with full band and impassioned relationship-based lyrics from Hansard.
In fact, relationships seem to be the theme of this album and there doesn't seem to be any effort to hide the fact that it's a very Fleetwood Mac-ish break-up album. The songs are loaded with references to the on-again off-again nature of Irglova and Hansard's relationship. Lots of songs about longing, people.
But where the Once soundtrack and The Swell Season CD are mostly softer, acoustic based discs with a couple of rockers, Strict Joy is a better balance.
Not knowing anything at all about these two (except for the movie) when I saw them the first time live, they were mostly acoustic and quiet, which is what I kind of expected. The second time through, however, Hansard had most of his band The Frames with him, and they did lots of really upbeat, rocking numbers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Glen Hansard has an amazing voice. I will listen to any music he puts out.Published 1 month ago by C. Childress
A great record I really enjoyed it I recommend it to people who just have a love for musicPublished 17 months ago by Rissa Covarrubias
Like this album a lot--music is so personal, but for what it's worth, it's occasionally mellow, sometimes stark, always subtle, interesting, melodic music.Published 22 months ago by #1fan
The songs aren't quite as memorable as the Once album, but a very pleasant album.Published 22 months ago by A. Fink
I was hopeing it would be as enjoyable as the soundtrack Once. I was disappointed.Published on July 19, 2014 by Shirlee Macauley
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