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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2010
This is amazing,its such value for money as you get live album and dvd as well as new album.
I am a devoted frames fan and have seen them many times so was a little cautious about "SWELL SEASON" stuff. The band are on here anyway and although it is not the wonderful frames it is an exceptional album.
I saw them at vicar street in dublin before christmas and they were amazing,Marketa has a voice like an a angel andthe two compliment each other very well.
The boys from the band are very much part of it and we were lucky enough to get a few tunes from The Frames too.
Buy this album without hesitation,i cannot stop listening to it,its amazing
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The really lovely thing about Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard's
new album 'Strict Joy' is its refreshing lack of affectation.
Soulful folk if ever there were such.

The Swell Season's third album, while offering no big
surprises, continues a line of work defined by solid
song-writing and emotionally believable performances.

They are ably assisted in making their musical dreams
come alive by a competent and sympathetic ensemble.
No stars or egos here, just a nice buch of chums
doing what they love and loving what they do.

'In These Arms' is a magical song.
Mr Hansard's warm and gentle approach to the narrative
is beautifully enhanced by Ms Irglova's vocal harmonies,
tentative piano and an ethereal violin.

'Feeling The Pull' works up a good sweat!
A fine tune driven along by Graham Hopkins' energetic
drumming and plenty of full-on strumming!

'The Rain' delivers one of the album's strongest compositions.
The episodic structure weaves in and out of some
texturally interesting highs and lows.
The writers fully understand the value of light and shade;
when to push forward and when to hold back.
Understatement is a rare and undervalued commodity these days.

'High Horses' is another fine example of the same principle.
There is substantial tension and anticipation engendered by
the build-up of layer upon layer of vocal and instrumental sound.
A simple and singular idea beautifully realised.

'I Have Loved You Wrong' is Ms Irglova's finest moment.
Her plaintive voice breathes life into the sad heart of the song.
It is the album's loveliest moment by a mile.

There is little not to like in this endearingly honest project.
It doesn't have the power to solve global warming or the
economic crisis but even a little of this kind of emotional
generosity goes a long way in these troubled times.

Recommended.
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on 29 October 2009
Like almost everyone else, I first heard of the duo through the beautiful motion picture 'Once'. From that I became a big fan of The Frames, and after seeing The Swell Season live I immediately purchased their first self-titled album and the 'Once' soundtrack.

The first album was nice, they clearly have great musical chemistry, but it was nothing life changing. I would put it on in the background but it certainly wasn't an earth shaking release for me.

'Strict Joy' is a truly special album. Not only does it showcase a richer and more interesting sound than their previous efforts, it seems to be thematically centered on the duo's real life break up. This makes the album, at times intense, at times heartbreaking and at times strangely uplifting. It is also musically closer to The Frames, which is no bad thing.

First track 'Low Rising' is a soulful song and great single, catchy and a joy to listen to. Other album highlights include 'I have loved you wrong', Marketa Irglova's masterpiece. It is heartbreaking, fragile and almost Sigur Ros like.

This album is more interesting, more emotion filled, and despite the dark subject matter, a joy to listen to. Highly recommended to anyone who is a fan of Glen and Mar.
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on 3 November 2009
OK First things first, this is an excellent CD from an excellent bunch of artists. And if you've been lucky enough to see them live then you'll get to relive some of that special magic on the live CD and live DVD. My only gripe is with what's listed here on Amazon as the Deluxe Ed. track list. It doesn't match it at all.
This Deluxe edition does indeed have 3 discs, the Main CD is the new album called of course Strict Joy and contains the 12 new tracks. The Live 'Audio' CD has just 14 tracks as listed inside the CD Sleeve and NOT the 20 tracks listed here on Amazon. This is where I'm most disappointed as it was one of the missing tracks I deliberately bought the Limited Deluxe Edition Strict Joy for. Other than that, couldn't recommend the actual music more.
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on 8 April 2013
I love this album but, as stated by another reviewer, the track listing stated on Amazon for the bonus live CD is incorrect and it contains only 14 tracks, not the 20 stated. The tracks which are missing from the live CD are Say It To Me Now; Gigantic; Go With Happiness; Blue Shoes; Star Star; The Auld Triangle. There is an MP3 version on Amazon which contains the full album and all of the live tracks including those missing from the CD other than, for some bizarre reason, Blue Shoes. Whether or not this can be obtained via other download sites I don't know. Personally I still prefer to have the physical CDs and so was a little disappointed at not getting everything I was expecting.

That said it's still a great package and you can't blame the artist for someone else listing their product incorrectly.
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on 9 March 2011
Great album. Every song on here is well written and beautifully song. It is very rare to have an album that is brilliant beginning to end. But this is! Songs that stand out are Low Rising, Fantasy Man and I have loved you Wrong. I think that Marketa Irglova could have been more prominent on the album, as she only has two solo songs on it. But apart from that, top notch!!!
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2009
First seen in the lovely low budget movie 'Once'. Former The Frames singer Glen Hansard and his film co star Marketa Irglova release an album of songs apparently chronicling their real life break up.
As you would expect from such a talented songwriter, Strict Joy continues the beautiful melodic melancholy vibe which 'Once' and the spin off album The Swell Season brought to the musical table.
The whole package is quality with some stand out tracks to match anything the former offerings gave us.
The arrangements are excellent and vocals and instrumentals are spot on.
Not quite a 5 star package though purely because it goes nowhere new and if it could be criticized,it would be because it's a bit AOR-ish but then it could be argued...if it aint broke, don't fix it!
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on 4 June 2010
I bought this set on the back of seeing 'Once' and being totally blown away by it.

This album has gained 'production' which does detract from the rawness and beauty of 'Once', but I am touched by the words and phrasing of the two artists, so enjoyed it immensely. I just hope that future albums recapture the raw, fresh sound and style of GLen Hansard and the beauty of support from Mareta Irglova.

I was reminded many years ago of a young guitarist who, having heard a Bert Jansch album decided he must go to where he was and be inspired. I can't help feeling the same.
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on 7 June 2010
The limited edition pack itself represents great value.

I'm not a long standing fan of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, so they are still new to me, but I love them. As writers they are producing some fine songs and as performers they are terrific. Looking forward to seeing them later this year.

The main album has some great songs, as done the extra one. The DVDis great to watch where a performance is interspersed with casual filming and chat from the two performers. It's a great insight into them.
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on 27 March 2010
Having been a huge fan of The Frames I was a little disappointed Glen Hansard had wandered off into a new (albeit fantastic) collaboration. However, now The Frames and the Swell Season are together-ish and the result is wonderful. This album is just brilliant. The songs as always are beautiful and intense and Marketa sounds great on it, with a few more solos than on the last album. Glen Hansard as always though, steals the show with his incredible voice. This album is amazing and a definite must-have.
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