Strict Joy - The Swell Season
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova release their follow-up to the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film "Once."
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Strict Joy is a joy from start to finish, as few bands manage to mix intimacy and sweeping songcraft with such finesse.
  2. Producer Peter Katis (who has worked with The National and Interpol) ornaments the duo’s foundation--Hansard’s battered acoustic guitar, Irglova’s piano, co-ed harmonies--with nuanced orchestration and a spacious mix that flatters the singers’ interplay.
  3. Strict Joy maintains the relatability and sincerity that made the soundtrack to "Once" so compellin
  4. When Hansard and Irglova keep the arrangements simple, it’s easier to hear who they are.
  5. Occasionally, all that lamenting gets nap-inducing. Luckily, Hansard saves some rage for 'Feeling the Pull,' which suggests the best love songs come from those who don't believe in them anymore.
  6. On Strict Joy, the duo deliver with their most dynamic set yet, with hot Irish soul segueing into energetic folk rock and dream-pop-touched balladry.
  7. Strict Joy ultimately feels like a great breakup album without the aftermath of an actual breakup. [Fall 2009, p.60]

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. SherriM.
    Oct 28, 2009
    I think this CD has some gems: Feeling the Pull, High Horses, Paper Cup, Two Tongues, Love that Conquers. Brilliant song writing and singing.
  2. [Anonymous]
    Oct 27, 2009
    Far more reaching in scope than the band's debut or soundtrack. A break-up album that sounds more alive than the "falling in love" ones prior. Look forward to Glen and Mar keeping this thing going. Expand
  3. May 24, 2012
    Having initially brought out the eponymous "The Swell Season", the Frames frontman's side project really took off with their Oscar win for Falling Slowly used in the film Once. Strict Joy is a strange follow up to their debut and the Once soundtrack. It's got much more of a full band sound which they never had before. It kind of gets stuck half way between a Frames record and a Swell Season record which takes from the album. Some of the songs are even old Frames songs first seeing the light of day here. Because it takes tracks from all over the place and has songs written across a period of many years, it has an inconsistent feel for me. It's got some great stuff on it but most of that is when Glen Hansard takes centre stage and drowns out Marketa. Where she made their previous work stand out, she adds very little to the best tracks on this record and the songs where she is prominent are the poorer ones on the album. Glen is bringing out a solo album this year - perhaps he should have held some of this material back for that or for a final Frames record but as it is this record falls between 2 stools for me. Expand
  4. Oct 23, 2011
    Ok, and worth treasuring since they have gone their separate ways. But go find the first Swell Season album, the one they recorded between filming "Once" and its release when they were still unknown to all but Frames fans. Expand