Hansard takes the wheel on new EP

By Jake Saunder


Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard has returned to let listners “Drive All Night” with his just-released EP of the same name.

Hansard won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song with “Falling Slowly,” an original piece from the critically acclaimed film “Once,” which he also acted in. His initial band, The Frames, began in the ‘90s and is still producing music. The Swell Season, Hansard’s folk rock duo with Marketa Irglova, crafted the soundtrack for the film, and after a hiatus his solo album “Rhythm and Repose” debuted in 2012.


We find Hansard now embarking on a new voyage with, presumably, a forthcoming album wrapped around “Drive All Night.”

The album features four tracks, which begin with “Step Out of the Shadows.” An acapella of simple arrangement, endearing a cadence of rippling reverberations; His vocals stir the darkness and echo gently and cordially about in sanctuary calm. In the voiced vibrato of the chorused crescendo, there is a structured rise and perfect fall from one keyed note to another. The monophonic rhythm swims rather gracefully from its many running resonations into a deserved serene silence.

“Renata” opens composedly in polyphonic rhythm, surrounding drum and voices and the natural guitar in slight strum. A sound of steady keys begins swimming moments after the introduction. The signature of time feels like the pleasant cheers of jazz. Hansard’s voice remains the stylized strength that is abundant in tracks like “Bird of Sorrow” from “Rhythm and Repose” or “Leave” from the Swell Season and “Say it to Me Now” from The Frames; However, we find this track with a sophisticated and persistent raining refrain.

Sailing into “Pennies in the Fountain,” we find warbling the eager tapping drum against the quietly bold plucking of the guitar picking pattern. The texture of somber brass instrumentation seeps into the melody as the toned voice rises as falsetto wavelengths. In an equal howling and whispered rhythmical undulation is the still musical sea. The piano ascends the oceanic horizon line and billows notes in rapid pace ending in ominously shrouded bass notes.

These groupings of songs, as full and textured as they are, certainly present Hansard in his evoking light of songwriting. It is a streaming vehicle in which the enchanted thrill shimmers as sunlight over a growing ocean.

Finally we arrive at the epitome of Hansard’s EP with the title track and cover of Springsteen’s nine minute shy song, “Drive All Night.” A rivulet of teeming harmony motions the breakers ashore with the accompanying voice of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Engulfed, the voices sing about the brass of saxophone and chords of piano and guitar. How the melody wends about as the voices of Hansard and Vedder complement one another gracefully and enliven the movement. It is here that we begin to feel the voices crescendo, rising toward a climactic expression, voices building off of one another and brass and drum thunder and ring out, sustaining perfectly, when suddenly and subtly the winds begin to subside. A chiming falsetto against warming baritone resounding amid the slow piano keyed rhythm dancing off into the distance.

In the rather intense four track EP, Hansard croons elegantly the new material and presents interestingly enough the melodies of the past. All proceeds from the digital versions of “Drive All Night” will be sent to the Little Kids Rock charity, which provides musical education to public schools lacking funding for music programs. Drive all night through the rain, the price is well worth the packaged melody draw.


Jake Saunders can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 254.