Release Date: Jun 19, 2012
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Love = drama + melodrama on Glen Hansard's moonstruck solo debut, as it is in his songs for the breakout film-turned-musical Once, and for his bands The Frames and the Swell Season. "I want to do what's right," he sings on "Maybe Not Tonight," adorably ready not to, conjuring the Seventies country-pop vibe of Glen Campbell around stock images: pretty eyes, an August night, "the long grass where we lay." More striking are the unsettling string arrangements by a coterie of indie-rock/classical fusionists (Thomas Bartlett, Nico Muhly, Rob Moose) and a quietly riveting duet with Once co-star Markéta Irglová ("What Are We Gonna Do"). As for many of us, a woman makes all the difference.
Rhythm and Repose could have been Glen Hansard’s Nebraska—a collection of stripped down acoustic songs that shed the layers and memories of bands of yore—but the Irish troubadour didn’t really channel his inner Bruce Springsteen at all. Instead of locking himself in a room with a four-track tape recorder (or so the story went), Hansard stayed close to his previous musical muses and stylistic choices, leaving his debut solo effort feeling like a continuation of prior efforts, rather than a foray into new material. Hansard, who’s also the frontman of alternative quintet The Frames and one half of the duo from Once and The Swell Season, actually brought in a host of friends and former bandmates to round out Rhythm and Repose.
GLEN HANSARD plays the Danforth Music Hall on September 16. See listing. Rating: NNN Glen Hansard does "quiet" really well. The Oscar- and Tony-winning singer/songwriter's first solo effort is anxious and sombre, not a huge leap from the work he's made as one half of the Swell Season and as vocalist/guitarist for the Frames, one of Ireland's most influential bands.
The first solo outing from Frames leader and Swell Season co-conspirator Glenn Hansard doubles down on the prolific Irish singer/songwriter's penchant for crafting soulful, slow burn ballads that ache like the sliced-open underbelly of a terminally swollen rain cloud. Inspired by a year-and-a-half stint as a denizen of New York City, as well as his breakup with Swell Season partner Markéta Irglová, the 11-track Rhythm and Repose is as lonely and pained as the face that graces its cover. Hansard's wounded Cat Stevens-esque cadence serves as an excellent bad news delivery system, especially on the sparse piano- and string-laden "The Storm, It's Coming" and the tense, brooding opener "You Will Become," but even the upbeat "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting," with its mid-'70s, blue-eyed soul shuffle and shimmery, Spanish guitar noodling, feels rooted in sleepless, pre-dawn anxiety.
There’s a song on Rhythm and Repose, Glen Hansard’s first solo album, whose name is not just a song title but also a statement: “The Storm, It’s Coming”. The song arrives like its own warning, and it’s worth noting that it falls directly in the middle of Hansard’s new record, serving as a summary of the tense anxiety throughout the first half of the album or a warning of the dark storm looming in the second. Much of the drama and tension amidst Rhythm and Repose functions similarly: Anticipatory or after the fact, the songs are either bubbling up or simmering down.
In the six years since Irish indie film phenom Once was released, star Glen Hansard (already noted for his work with folk rock band The Frames) has racked up an Academy Award, a Grammy nomination, eight Tony Awards for the film's Broadway translation, and been handpicked for a number of national tours, including two with now good friend Eddie Vedder. So when Hansard announced his first solo work outside of The Frames and The Swell Season (the band that grew out of a relationship with Once co-star and former flame Marketa Irglova), the world was watching. .
Glen Hansard's music is best known for supporting Once, both the movie (2007) and the Broadway musical, which is currently running. Neither provides a totally accurate representation. The film's soundtrack is rawer and more intimate than the rest of his work, Hansard's character a street performer instead of a guy who'd been professionally recording his music for 15 years.