Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|The Swell Season|
Strict Joy (Limited Deluxe Version includes CD, Live CD and DVD)
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
The Limited Deluxe Version includes a bonus live 14 track concert CD and "One Step Away - Live from the Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI. May 8, 2008" DVD — The Swell Season are Glen Hansard (from the Irish band the Frames)... more »
The Limited Deluxe Version includes a bonus live 14 track concert CD and "One Step Away - Live from the Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI. May 8, 2008" DVD
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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A Great Continuation to Once and The Swell Season CDs
Paul Lesinski | Portland, OR United States | 10/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up the new The Swell Season CD today, called Strict Joy. I got the deluxe edition, which has a second CD of live tracks from the last couple of tours. A total of 32 tracks - 13 make up the new CD and 19 are live tracks.
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. Some of The Frames tunes like Fitzcarraldo were fairly face-melting. That rocking side of the band comes through more on this disc.
A good example is High Horses, which starts out as an arpeggiated, repeating piano riff but really takes off at the end with full band coming in and bringing the energy level waaaaay up. This one will be on par with Fitzcarraldo live. The Verb does something similar structurally, with some very nice call and response vocal trade offs and a great build at the end with a nice use of strings.
Irglova's two songs are strong. Fantasy Man is pretty obviously about Hansard and is well done, with dare I say an Eastern European vibe to it (it would make sense, since that is where she is from). I Have Loved You Wrong is the standout here. I remember seeing this one live and thinking, what the hell is this song? It's a very trancy song, with a repeating bass line and very tasty piano noodlings. But the repeating vocal bit that takes the song out was mind blowing live, and although it is understated on this version, the song is done really well on this disc. Might be her best song.
Suffice it to say, if you like the music from the movie Once, and/or the first Swell Season album, you'll love this. And if you dig The Frames, you'll probably like it too. I am still discovering that band, so I don't have a ton of insight there. But the new material picks up where the last left off, with enough familiarity to link it to the previous work but also with enough of an evolution so that you don't feel like you are listening to a re-hash.
There really isn't a bad track on the CD although the last two songs are a bit sleepy, although very pretty - especially the outro to Somebody Good, which closes the CD with some gorgeous vocal harmonies between Hansard and Irglova. A nice way to wrap up the CD.
And of course you get what amounts to a full live CD as a bonus of you get the deluxe edition. Which is nice.
I reviewed the CD and the last couple of Portland-area live performances on my blog at [...]. Check it out!"
False Advertising by Amazon
James Gagne | Winsted, CT | 10/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The new album is great, but Amazon lists 20 songs for the second disc. It only has 14 songs on there, and the songs that were left off are the reason I bought the 3 disc set instead of just the Strict Joy cd."
A "Live" Band
int_53185 | wisconsin | 11/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The cd simply doesnt do the band justice. They are something to be experienced "live". I just saw them in MIlwaukee on Nov. 1st. They were nothing short of spectacular. Of all the live shows I've seen,(I've seen my share), Iwould say that this ranks as the best. You have to experience the power of Glen's voice, and the subtleness of Mar's for yourself. A lot is lost in the translation to cd. I was especially touched when Mar started play "O Holy Night" on the piano, and then singing about half the song through with her incredible voice. The Frames are simply fantastic. The bass shook your bones, the drumming was spot on for the music, the violin solos masterful. Glen is the John Lennon of our generation. His songwriting talent, guitar mastery, vocal talent, and presence remind me very much of him. He has that who gives a ***k attitude. Someone interrupted him when he was talking, and he got very mad! He's a man who loves his music and won't take anycrap from nobody. You have to admire him for that. I enjoyed the fact that both the live cd and dvd were recorded in MIlw. at The Riverside. Marketa commented on how lovely a city Milwaukee was. She even woke early in order to walk by the river and Lake Michigan. These 2 belong together. And this cd clearly shows that."