Review

The first solo outing from Frames leader and Swell Season co-conspirator Glenn Hansard doubles down on the prolific Irish singer/songwriter's penchant for crafting soulful, slow burn ballads that ache like the sliced-open underbelly of a terminally swollen rain cloud. Inspired by a year-and-a-half stint as a denizen of New York City, as well his breakup with Swell Season partner Markéta Irglová, the 11-track Rhythm and Repose is as lonely and pained as the face that graces its cover. Hansard's wounded Cat Stevens-esque cadence serves as an excellent bad news delivery system, especially on the sparse piano- and string-laden "The Storm, It's Coming" and the tense, brooding opener "You Will Become." There are also moments ("High Hope," "Bird of Sorrow") on Rhythm and Repose where Hansard uses the confessional singer/songwriter trope as a front for a much more primal process, allowing songs the room to smoke and sizzle before tossing in the gas can in a fit of explosive melodrama that suggests some of the finer moments from the Frames. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi

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