red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

Much more than merely a soundtrack
sensation thanks to a pitch perfect pairing

The Swell Season
Auditorium Theatre
Chicago, IL
December 3, 2009
The Swell Season The Swell Season The Swell Season

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

Given the astronomical success of the 2007 film "Once" and having its single "Falling Slowly" win the Academy Award for "Best Original Song," its soundtrack creators virtually went from indie obscurity to household recognition overnight. As a result of the frenzy, a subsequent tour from main musicians Glen Hansard (the charismatic one on vocals and guitars) and Marketa Irglova (the shy sidekick on vocals and pianos) sold out multiple dates in the same cities within seconds and finally gave the previously underground musicians some much deserved recognition.

In the time that's passed, the duo collectively christened The Swell Season have written and recorded outside the cinema world, resulting in the highly anticipated follow-up Strict Joy (Anti-). Though the commercial attention is still mounting to the level of that freshman fluke, the record's scored mounds of critical kudos, giving the pair (and ironically, The Frames as a backing band) a boost on the road to sizeable theatres, packed with three balconies and a main floor full of fervent fans in this particular case.

Though "Once" material obviously earned the most applause, the audience was respectful and no doubt intrigued by the new tunes, which ranged from the gloriously rootsy glow of "Low Rising" to the melodic indie pop of "The Rain" and the downright beautiful ballad "Fantasy Man." Now that The Swell Season's had the chance to tour once before and truly settle into its own collaborative skin, its chemistry and cohesion was especially apparent come "The Verb," which swooned with the pair's vocal interplay and casual acoustic saunter.

Out of the soundtrack material, "Lies" unveiled the softer side of Hansard's register as "If You Want Me" lavishly showcased Irglova's angelic appeal. Along with the laidback "Leave," the pensive turned explosive "Say It To Me Now" and the sublime "Falling Slowly," the pair literally brought the movie to life, while simultaneously cementing its creative unity. Add in a perfectly blended rendition The Frames' "Red Chord," plus a few charming off the cuff odds and ends spanning folk and Irish traditions, and this Season's sure to spread well beyond its initial groundswell in the years to come.

Related articles:

"Once" - Movie review - May 29, 2007
The Frames (Lollapalooza 2006) - Concert review - Chicago, IL - August 2006

The Swell Season The Swell Season
The Swell Season

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu