I'm fairly certain that I've never expressed publicly how much I love The Frames, The Swell Season...hell, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, et. al actually. But...I do. The Frames' eighth album, The Cost, very nearly made my list of 2006 contenders but was overshadowed by some amazing new music that really spoke louder to me at the time. However...it was their best effort to date and if you aren't familiar, pick it up. Assuming you know nothing of The Frames I suppose you'd know nothing of The Swell Season and so in order for me to delve further into the film I'm going to talk about, I'll have to break it down for you.
I received a message from my buddy Shley...oh yes, she is amazing...early last year with a link to check out The Swell Season. I've never been a huge fan of The Frames and admittedly outside of really loving a few tracks from their '04 album Burn The Maps that I'd heard via a mix CD that was made for me, I didn't REALLY get into their work until Ashley got me into The Swell Season and I went digging backward but once I made the connection between the two groups I fell head over heels for both. (Holy run on, Batman!) The Swell Season is actually a side project for Frames' lead singer, Glen Hansard and his Czech export gal pal, Marketa Irglova. Born out of a request from director Jan Hřebejk to contribute music for his 2006 Beauty in Trouble (Kráska v nesnázích), Glen & Marketa created The Swell Season and released their self titled debut after realizing that the music they made together was spectacular and should be shared. I'm so glad they did.
The Swell Season was very much a "right tunes/right time" album for me. It was introduced to me at a point when I really needed the type of raw, forlorn, emotional and soul breaking music Glen & Marketa composed. It's not a good time disc at all...I'd put it in my "Songs To Cry & Curl Into The Fetal Position By...In
Once may loosely be classified as a musical, but it has a refreshing vérité inflection. Conceived by director John Carney as a "video album," it sports a scrappy, unembellished naturalism. Carney took a risk in choosing professional musicians over professional actors, but Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are not only remarkably charming together but they're equally adept with the more melancholy shades (Hansard's lonely soul, stuck on an old flame; Irglova struggling to support a mother and daughter). Burdened and brokenhearted, their musical bond is the heart of the film and of their love.
Great music aside, what makes this film special is how little effort it seems to exert. If it's possible to be blindsided by simplicity--a light touch, Once does it.
— John Nein
Even though it was only released to limited theaters yesterday, It's gotten rave reviews from critics and movie goers alike and was one of the fan favorites of the Sundance Film Festival in January. I'll be putting it in my Netflix queue...will you?Official Trailer:
A few of my favorite tracks from Glen & Marketa from The Swell Season are below. See if you can tell which track was written with fellow Irishman Damien Rice...it should be fairly obvious if you're a fan of his at all.