Glen Hansard – Between Two Shores
More of the same from the modern Irish balladeer? Kind of. There's something stirring, though
'Don't you see, your heart's not in it,' Glen Hansard sings on the mid-paced melodic meander of his new album's penultimate track, but lacking heart is something you could never accuse the Irishman of.
Every last chord is strummed fully, every drop of emotion is wrung out of vocals that sound like they have been torn from his throat, and every last classic rock arrangement choice is made across an album that wears its authenticity on its sleeve. That's not a bad thing... is it? Perhaps we're too cynical. When Hansard opens Time Will Be the Healer's platitudes with a fantastic falsetto, our first impulse is to close our eyes and love it. Even though our brain is asking questions about another well-worn chord sequence, we're going to go with our instinct and revel in the glow of its warm acoustic guitar, piano and guttural growls.
Album opener Roll on Slow offers no such dilemmas, though, strutting in as it does on a beat and riff that wouldn't sound out of place on a seminal Stones record. Wheels on Fire shares a space with Morrissey's Spent the Day in Bed as Hansard tries to up the pace early doors, before returning to that early Van Morrison thing he does better than anyone with the laments of Wreckless Heart and Movin' On. One of Us Must Lose moves into noir jazz territory and places some beautiful horns front and centre, but we're soon back waltzing down Cyprus Avenue with the aforementioned Time Will Be the Healer.
Between Two Shores is another Glen Hansard album filled with good songs, gorgeous music and gregarious singing. Is that enough? You decide.
Listen to: Roll On Slow, Movin' On