Glen Hansard could pen a musical adaptation of the alphabet and fill it with enough emotional drama that you'd be exhausted by the time he reaches QRS. Not so surprisingly, the Oscar-winning leader of the Frames and the Swell Season wears his heart proudly on his sleeve on his first solo album. Rhythm and Repose's sparse instrumentation intensifies Hansard's tales of love gone wrong and the slight possibility of happiness down the line. The opening "You Will Become" sets the tone with a tender sendoff to ex-girlfriend and musical partner Markéta Irglová. Songs like "Bird of Sorrow" and "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting" are more desperate than joyful, and it doesn't sound like things will be getting better for him anytime soon. That's good news for us. — John Patrick Gatta
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