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'Rhythm and Repose' displays Glen Hansard's haunting talents

Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 18:07

Glen Hansard

Rhythm and Repose
(ANTI Records)
Grade: B+

There’s no doubt that Glen Hansard is a talented man. He won an Oscar with Marketa Irglova for Best Original Song from the film “Once” and eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical) for the subsequent Broadway version of “Once.”

Hansard’s outstanding music and unique voice makes him instantly recognizable. Rhythm and Repose is his first solo attempt, and he did not shy away from the challenge that comes with a solo album.

To say these songs feel personal is an understatement. They feel raw and exposed. Hansard talks about finding love, sharing love, loyal love and love lost. Each song tells a different story and feels as if they came from the touchiest parts of Hansard’s diary.

The stand out song on the album is “Talking with the Wolves,” an upbeat percussion-heavy track in which Hansard directly talks to someone named Simon who he desperately wants to protect.

Hansard sings, “Simon, you are the model of your age/Don't let the bastards take the stage/They don't love you/And, hey, you are a pure light on the waves/Don't let them turn us into slaves/They don't care for you (like I do).”

He narrates each situation delicately, and his voice drips of wisdom. His voice is still as haunting as ever and it can sends shivers down your spine. The Irish singer doesn’t mind belting out his lyrics in songs such as “Bird of Sorrow” and whispering in “What Are We Gonna Do.” Both tracks are equally emotional and so specific that they can probably reduce sympathetic listeners to tears. That’s talent.

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