It's been an awfully busy year or two for Glen Hansard.
He's released an astonishing new record with his amazing band
The Frames, he's released a beautiful and amazing side
project with the incredibly talented Marketa Irglova entitled
The Swell Season, and he's taken the time to star in his
second film, Once, as well as to compose the soundtrack
for the film. Much of the music for the film is also featured
on The Swell Season, giving rise to the question of which
came first, the meeting of Hansard and Irglova, the filming of
the movie, or the recording of The Swell Season. Whichever
order things came to be the results are worthwhile at each turn,
giving fresh breath to the music of Hansard, and seemingly, on
his outlook on life as well.
I believe that Once tells the story of a street musician
who meets another street musician and tells the story of their
adventures together. I've not seen the film as yet, so I cannot
comment on the film. The music, however, is vibrant and astonishing.
The tenderness of Hansard's vocals on tracks like "Lies"
and the acoustic remake of his classic "Say It To Me Now"
is stunning, as the songs build to their trademark crescendos.
Hansard throws in some humor on the street-level recording "Broken
Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy", the bohemian tale of a
cuckolded man. Re-recorded versions of "When Your Mind's
Made Up" and "Falling Slowly" from The Swell
Season make an appearance on the soundtrack, showcasing Hansard's
abilities to blend well with the siren-voiced Irglova. Glen is
joined by the blokes from The Frames on harmony vocals on "Falling
From The Sky", a Casio-drum-driven tune that show's Hansard's
quick wit and vocal abilities are still as unsurpassed as ever.
The apex of the album hits on "Trying To Pull Myself Away",
with it's scrubbing guitars and sharply rhythmic drive that recalls
the finest moments of Hansard and The Frames
Mac Con Iomaire lending his brilliant violin to the recording.
The song is a true clash of styles, with a lilting classical background
underneath the rough and ready modern rock guitars and drums.
If the songs on Once are any indication, then any rumors
of Hansard's momentary madness are baseless and the man continues
to climb his life's ladder, embracing his brilliant artistic vision.
These songs show a struggle... not a struggle that weakens the
soul but strengthens a man through the trials and tribulations
of life. Hansard's songwriting once more takes the listener through
all the stages of life in a short while, revealing glimpses of
love and loss and pain and pleasure and all that life has to offer.
These are gifts, and Glen Hansard is one of the finest voices
in modern music that reveal the world around us as a construct
of love and learning.
Need more proof? Take one listen to "All the Way Down".
You'll get it.
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!