Monday, November 23, 2009

What we're listening to: Strict Joy by The Swell Season

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the members of The Swell Season, previously appeared together in the movie Once and collaborated on its accompanying soundtrack, for which they won Oscars for the song "Falling Slowly." Since the movie wrapped they became romantically involved, toured, and broke up. They are still making music together and singing about the pain that goes with relationships.

On most songs Hansard takes the lead while Irglova adds background vocals. Their voices blend so well together and really complement each other. Singing about heartbreak and loss of love, many of the songs have a lovely haunting feeling to them. A good example is the chorus of "In These Arms." This haunting quality is also present in Irglova's vocals on "Fantasy Man:" "Let's put it down to life / The story of two lovers / Who danced both edges of the knife." Another Irglova-fronted song, "I Have Loved You Wrong," is told from the point of view of a lover who messed up a relationship but still can't get her ex out of her thoughts: "...this estranged organ in my chest / Still beats for you." On "Back Broke" Hansard sings about a broken-up couple, reunited: "I came on your command / Don't give me false hope." The ominous quality to Hansard's vocals and music suggest to the listener that while he's happy to be spending time with his ex-lover, he's just going to get hurt all over again once they part. Other highlights include "Love That Conquers," and the uptempo "High Horses."

Listen to The Swell Season for yourself by placing a hold on Strict Joy:
Find it in the catalog!

The Swell Season perform at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on December 3!