Graham Reid | | 1 min read
For those who haven't followed the extensive solo career of Ireland's Glen Hansard, he was the barely memorable guitarist in The Commitments but better known as the one of the two central characters in the 2007 film Once where he played the aspiring singer-songwriter/busker in a rather charming love story.
However he was also in bands, the Frames and Swell Season but here again appears under his own name of a terrific album which opens with a couple of apocalyptic, desperate and urgent songs which are real attention-getters.
Hansard crashes in with his tough, tight band on the abrasively downbeat Feast of St John: “See a man of good standing pushed to the ground. And his lover attending . . . and her blood raging full muster, muster to the depths of your soul”.
The surging six and half minute Down on Your Knees which follows speaks of “pandemic, famine, war, privation, mass migration. Four horsemen riding . . . we'll all go down on our knees. won’t we? Eventually”.
These first volleys suggest no easy ride.
But thereafter are the unhurried, evocative, Cohenesque Sure As the Rain with strings and theremin (“Come dance with me down the Rue Du Faubourg, Saint Denise”), a conversational delivery (“Will you please stop butting in to everything I say” on Between Us There is Music) and that impending apocalypse offset with There's No Mountain “great or small you can't climb”.
On Short Life he sings, “It’s a dangerous lie that we've got endless time but there’s a real hope hovering”.
Hansard upturns familiar themes with his roar or dark whisper to shake out sin, redemption, fears, doubt and hope.
You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here.