Strict Joy

( 7 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andrew Leahey
When Once hit theaters in 2007, Glen Hansard had already pursued international fame for more than 15 years with the Frames. Although popular in Ireland, the singer's music wasn't nearly as omnipresent in other countries until the movie's release, which catapulted tunes like "Falling Slowly" into the spotlight. The Once soundtrack was also a big hit, turning Hansard's side project with simpatico songwriter Markéta Irglová into a full-fledged, award-winning, globetrotting band. While playing international venues and attending industry award shows, the two attracted additional attention for their real-life relationship, which effectively replaced Once's semi-tearful ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andrew Leahey
When Once hit theaters in 2007, Glen Hansard had already pursued international fame for more than 15 years with the Frames. Although popular in Ireland, the singer's music wasn't nearly as omnipresent in other countries until the movie's release, which catapulted tunes like "Falling Slowly" into the spotlight. The Once soundtrack was also a big hit, turning Hansard's side project with simpatico songwriter Markéta Irglová into a full-fledged, award-winning, globetrotting band. While playing international venues and attending industry award shows, the two attracted additional attention for their real-life relationship, which effectively replaced Once's semi-tearful conclusion with a storybook ending. Released two years after the film's release, however, Strict Joy finds Hansard and Irglová going their separate ways, choosing to end their relationship while remaining in the same band. Hansard has used heartbreak for fuel in the past, and he keeps the blaze going throughout these 12 tracks. If the Once soundtrack was a bit spotty -- its track list culled from a haphazard array of old Frames songs, Van Morrison covers, collaborative material, and the musicians' own tunes -- then Strict Joy shows what the Swell Season can do with a singular theme and a solid backing band, both of which contribute to the album's cohesion. Van Morrison's influence is still apparent, particularly in the '70s-styled soul of "Low Rising," but the singer/songwriter ambience that permeated Once's music doesn't carry as much weight here. Instead, Strict Joy devotes more concern to exploring the lush, full boundaries of Swell Season's sound, which now includes tasteful doses of strings, electric guitar, and overdubbed harmonies. The results are quite often gorgeous, with songs like "The Rain" and "High Horses" building up to expansive, cathartic climaxes over the course of several minutes. Also striking are the performances by Markéta Irglová, who turns her fragile voice -- an instrument that always seemed detrimentally self-conscious on previous albums -- into something alluring on "Fantasy Man" and "I Have Loved You Wrong." It's testament to the band's vision that they remain focused despite such improvements; no amount of cinematic orchestration can change the fact that these songs are, after all, inward-looking tunes about heartbreak and personal struggle, and their lyrics resonate regardless of their wrapping paper. As a result, Strict Joy is a joy from start to finish, and few bands manage to mix intimacy and sweeping songcraft with such finesse.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/27/2009
  • Label: Anti
  • UPC: 045778704828
  • Catalog Number: 87048
  • Sales rank: 63,712

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Low Rising (4:47)
  2. 2 Feeling the Pull (2:20)
  3. 3 In These Arms (3:33)
  4. 4 The Rain (3:40)
  5. 5 Fantasy Man (5:06)
  6. 6 Paper Cup (3:21)
  7. 7 High Horses (4:59)
  8. 8 The Verb (4:31)
  9. 9 I Have Loved You Wrong (5:04)
  10. 10 Love That Conquers (3:56)
  11. 11 Two Tongues (3:45)
  12. 12 Back Broke (4:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Swell Season Primary Artist
Clark Gayton Bass Trombone
Peter Katis Percussion, Track Performer, ARP
Steven Bernstein Trumpet, French Horn, Track Performer
Chris Lightcap Track Performer, Standup Bass
Thomas Bartlett Keyboards, Track Performer
Glen Hansard Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer
Graham Hopkins Percussion, Drums, Track Performer
Rob Bochnik Guitar, Mandolin, Track Performer
Colm Mac Con Iomaire Violin, Track Performer
Joseph Doyle Bass, Guitar, Track Performer
Markéta Irglová Piano, Vocals, Track Performer
Javier Más Archlute, Track Performer, spanish guitar
Javier Mas spanish guitar
Technical Credits
James Stephens Poetry
Greg Calbi Mastering
Peter Katis Producer
David Cleary Art Direction, Cover Design
Steven Bernstein Horn Arrangements
Glen Hansard Composer, Lyricist, Art Direction
Colm Mac Con Iomaire String Arrangements
Karl Odlum Engineer
Markéta Irglová Composer, Lyricist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent sounding vinyl

    I love the musicality and songwriting of these two. The audio quality of the vinyl is amazing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this work every bit as much as 'Once"

    I was thrilled to discover that Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova of Swell Season had a new CD as I am a huge fan of "Once," both the movie and the soundtrack. I immediately snapped up Strict Joy and added it to the CD line-up in my car. I worried that I would be disappointed with a follow-up CD as I am after many first album successes. I was particularly concerned that the duo would lose the fresh, honest sound they achieved on Once. I was wrong to worry.....I loved Strict Joy from start to finish on the first listening and became more enamoured every time I heard the CD again. I found myself skipping the other five CD's in the changer so I could repeat Strict Joy over and over again. I finally relinquished the CD to my husband for a while and he, a picky critic, equally appreciated the music, lyrics and arrangements. I am looking forward to whatever Swell Season does next.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this CD!!

    If you loved the music from ONCE. You will love this CD. They make beautiful music and I instantly loved it after the first listen! My favorite tracks are In These Arms and I Have Loved You Wrong. Absolutly beautiful! I put this on anytime I want to relax. I love how you feel what they are saying and how they are feeling about what they are singing. They make you feel completely there with them at that monent.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews