Archive for indie pop

The Swell Season / Strict Joy

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 90000008-04:00 12 by marky7235

Strict Joy

The Swell Season is a folk rock duo formed by Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová. “The Swell Season” name is derived from Hansard’s favourite novel by Josef Škvorecký from 1975 bearing the same title. Their debut album goes by the same name.

Since their rise to prominence after starring in the 2007 film Once, they increasingly referred to themselves as “The Swell Season” in promotion of their performances until it became the formal name of their collaboration in 2008. (Notably, they still used their separate names when they contributed their cover of Bob Dylan‘s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” to the 2007 soundtrack of I’m Not There.

Low Rising—-It is no wonder that this band carries the name they do…this is wonderfully emotional music that swells your feelings the more it plays. The gentle guitar is brilliant and the slightly rough vocal that rides above the music is incredible. The real treat is when the two voices combine on the chorus to create a magnificent swell of beauty. Very nice!

Feeling The Pull—-This track is a bit more upbeat and Indie oriented. The vocal is much clearer and fluid. The story lyrics are fantastic. The words are clear and you find yourself magically lost in the story that unfolds before you. This is breathtaking! This vocal really reminds me of someone…just can’t put my finger on it.

In These Arms—- Returning to a remarkable sedate delivery, this is not…be warned…happy music. The guitar is so sparse you barely hear it over the very upfront vocal. The lyrics are gentle and real…eclipsing almost anything on the market today. When these two voices come together, it is something of pure beauty and leaves you aching…wanting love and feeling very afraid of it.

The Rain—-This guy is amazing…he has a chameleon voice that changes wonderfully from song to song. This has a slight Alt-Country feel to it…with some gentle flute that plays before the drums enter and the song opens up even more. This is classic Indie Pop…wonderfully delivered and honest.

Fantasy Man—-Marketa takes on the vocal and the placement of the song is wonderful. Needing a bit of variance, this was just in time…giving the listener a reason to continue to listen. The vocal is timid and quiet…heartfely and genuine…beautiful and crystal clear. This is so nice…when the two voices do combine, it is amazing as always.

Paper Cup—-With a subtle guitar and a wonderful sand shifting effect in the backdrop of the song, the vocal is quiet and innocent…full of angst and need. The guitar at times has a nice Spanish flair that melds so well with the understated piano and the hushed vocal. this is wonderful.

High Horses—-This is much more upbeat and alternative in sound. the two voices are together through much of the song…for me this is when the band is at it’s best. This is brilliant….shuffling along at a much higher tempo…including some more obvious drums, the song never becomes obnoxious, just shows some signs of life.

The Verb—-Again sounding like a complete different person, the vocal is almost immediately joined by the other…in a very subtle way. The song opens up a bit…with some electronic sounds buried underneath it all….this is magnificent. the story unfolds and you catch every word of pain, isolation and loneliness. This is not a happy record…be warned.

I Have Loved You Wrong—-Again, the vocal is supplied by Marketa….the result is nothing less than breathtaking. This is so sedate and serious you find your head hanging just a little bit more than when you started. This is sedate and mellow…leaving you with a melancholy that is a bit difficult to shake off. The saving grace is the wonderful voice…I wish we heard it more often.

Love That Conquers—-Coming slowly out of the silence, the guitar finally enters and the duo vocals leave you with a remarkable though…this sounds so retro…you think of Crosby, Stills And Nash. This is that layered and that full of melody. With a nice throwback feel, this is one of the best tracks on this release.

Two Tongues—-A bit too sedate at the onset, the song begins to open up when the vocals join together and the constant guitar strumming becomes louder and louder…never becoming aggressive, but more pronounced. This is better than anything Low has done in the past 5 years. Just wonderful!!

Back Broke—-Ending the release just as serious and sedate as they started, the guitar is almost none existent for most of the song…the vocal laid completely overtop of any other sound going on in the song. This is incredible…not for everyday listening, but nice to pull out when you need some mental down time.

****1/2 out of 5