The Swell Season is Glen Hansard, lead singer of the frames, first "solo" venture, this album was a collaboration between himself and Marketa Irglova a Czech singer. The title "the swell season" was taken from the book of the same name by Josef Skvorecky the czech writer, who Hansard is a devoted fan, he sent the album to Brian Eno who had been a distant adviser for sometime, he had been trying to get him to record the frames for years, he got back to him on hearing it and advised they do no more more mixing and fixes, that it sounded finished to him. so they left it, raw and roughly mixed. And what are the results.....?
Well Its hard not to draw comparisons to Damien Rice's O,its a deeply personal record, the lyrics for the most part paint the full spectrum of the ups and downs of falling in love and breaking up. I think its fair to say that the lows are covered with more depth(sorry, terrible pun).
Marketa Irglova might as well be Lisa Hannigan, she has that rare lovely gentle voice and it compliments Hansards rough passionate voice perfectly. She adds some lovely subtle touches on piano aswell as her own track piano solo track, the Swell Season. THe tracks are also coloured by strings,sparingly, just as in Rices solo effort.
But its HAnsards lyrics and delivery that stand out, theres not a bad song here, every one has something distinct but personally "Sleeping", "This Low" and "Leave" are my stand out tracks, Lyrics like "And how in the world did you come, to be such a lazy love" really will break the heart.
Its a measure of Hansards talent that given the bare minimum of resources and without thinking much about it, hes made a record that eclipses any album hes made with the Frames. If you remotely enjoyed Damien Rices O, I guarentee you will like this too!