hoya3Rating: 4/5 stars

On June 19, Hansard released his first solo studio album, appropriately titled “Rhythm and Repose.” This 11-track release is impressive in terms of its quality, and it does a great job of showcasing Hansard’s raw songwriting and vocal talents.

Hansard and Marketa Irglova won a 2007 Academy Award for their hauntingly beautiful song “Falling Slowly,” which appeared in the much-accoladed film — and now Tony-winning musical — Once. But Glen’s status as a huge player in the music scene cannot be entirely attributed to Once. He is also one half of folk duo The Swell Season and the frontman of Irish rock band The Frames. His new album builds upon the sound he’s become famous for while showcasing his evolution as an artist.

As listenable and enjoyable as this solo debut is, it’s nothing drastically new or different from what has come out of Hansard’s other projects. The album seems to be a continuation of his trademark style. Although that’s not a bad thing, it would have been nice to hear something a little different from this talented and seasoned performer.

The album effortlessly moves from loud to soft, angry to sad and simple to complicated. The lyrics are moving and relatable. He conveys every emotion expressed in his words even more masterfully through his voice. Hansard is known for his vocal outbursts; his brash, loud voice can fill the air and add a lot to the song, but on this release he uses it much more sparingly than usual. When he does, however, it makes quite the impact, and the best songs on the album are those where he lets go and allows his voice to take the spotlight.

The album is slow and steady, with many of the songs — while beautiful — erring on the depressing side. Although this doesn’t feel like much of a summery album, it is definitely worth a listen. Hansard knocks it out of the park and leads listeners to notice the perfection of his trademark style.

Song to Download: “You Will Become”

Song to Skip: “What Are We Gonna Do”

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