BETWEEN TWO SHORES
A True Modern Rock Classic.
I still smile at my ignorance when I received Hansard’s 2015 album DIDN’T HE RAMBLE; presuming he was a new kid on the block and I wished him well; only to discover (minutes before publishing) that he had been a key figure in legendary Irish Rock band The Frames for 25 years and was the cool guitarist in the Commitments PLUS he had written and performed the music in Mrs Magpies favourite film ONCE!
A hasty re-write meant no one would ever know.
Which all brings us today and his latest release; which has taken six years to cull together all of the pieces and only a couple of weeks in the studio to complete; and both timescales make perfect sense.
The opening track Roll On Slow is one of those songs that completely stopped me in my tracks. The Irishman’s gravelly lived-in voice reminds me of many of my favourite singers but is his own distinctive tones; and the hypnotic drum and bass reeled me in before some searing guitar and a classy brass section swing and shimmy the song into the dark of night. I love it!
Oddly things slow right down for an acoustic ballad Why Woman; which finds Hansard at his smouldering best on a lovely bittersweet break up song? (Mick Hucknall will be gnashing his teeth when he hears it; as it’s the type of song he’s famous for but never recorded anything quite as beautiful).
A couple of songs later Reckless Heart makes an appearance and again; I had to stop what I was doing and turn my head towards the speakers to pick up every nuance of this incredibly sad song; which finds the singer crooning in a cracked voice over a gentle guitar, drums and string section; and I defy you not to have to cough a tear away when the trumpet makes an appearance.
For a man with such an inestimable track record Glen Hansard still has the ability to surprise; Wheels on Fire is a bit of a passionate Soft-Rocker; but delve deeper and there is a political thread weaving through the fire and brimstone lyrics. Later Time Will Be The Healer is so clever you can listen on at least two levels; as it can be a plea to a lost love or if you are a cynic like me it just may be a commentary on the world we live in today and the politicians who govern us.
Favourite song? I’m pretty sure that will change every time I play this record; but today I will toss a coin between the ever so maudlin song about unrequited love, Lucky Man and Your Hearts Not In It; which is one of those perfect songs you find and keep for a midnight drinking and crying session when only ‘that song will do.’
Glen Hansard has nearly done the impossible here by making a timeless and classy Rock Album that will sit very comfortable alongside Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, Lucinda Williams and in our house Roger Chapman; but it’s also so very contemporary and will appeal to young adults who have never heard of those four singers.
Expect this to be nominated for and win numerous Awards later in the year.
Released January 19th 2018