Editors' pick

Glen Hansard

Irish/Celtic
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Editorial Review

Hansard delivers on solo debut
By Jess Righthand
Friday, September 14, 2012

Rhythm and Repose” has been a long time coming. Singer-songwriter Glen Hansard has dozens of recording credits to his name. He also won an Academy Award for the music he wrote and performed with Marketa Irglova in “Once,” the popular indie film that is now a hit Broadway musical. And yet, from his days busking on the streets of Dublin until now, the 42-year-old had never released a solo album.

His first effort doesn’t disappoint.

The album is just what you want it to be: a collection that highlights Hansard’s unique artistry but is steeped in the gnawing vulnerability so compelling in “Once.”

The songs are mostly about love, from the perspective of someone who has been through the ringer a few times. The entrancing “You Will Become” seems to refer directly to Hansard’s former relationship with the younger Irglova: “In time this won’t even matter. . . . Your beauty is nothing compared to what you will become.”

Hansard is the beneficiary of outstanding production, which intersperses strings and synthesizers to build song dynamics into an impactful swell.

He also uses female vocals at points to balance the raw, dripping emotion in his voice. Sometimes, it’s a bit much. But songs such as “High Hope” and “What Are We Gonna Do” are inescapably profound. Overall, “Rhythm and Repose” is the definitive case for the mastery Hansard brings to the table when he decides to go stag.