- 15 Apr 19
Fourth solo album from Frames frontman re-embraces experimentation.
For his fourth solo album, Glen Hansard has largely left behind the soulful troubadour who inhabited his last couple of records and re-embraced the noise. Much of This Wild Willing has more in common with the sonic storms he helped conjure up as The Frames’ frontman, as Hansard re-engages with his darker side.
Album opener and lead single, ‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’ is a superb introduction: it’s an exercise in restraint, Hansard’s vocal a controlled whisper while the music builds from slow throb to a swirling maelstrom of distorted noise. ‘Don’t Settle’ begins with tinkering piano, but it’s far from the gentle melody of ‘Falling Slowly’: these staccato scatterings of notes have far more dramatic intensity, as Hansard delivers a plea not to compromise your ideals, “When they turn your words against you, try to grind you to the ground.” Once again it builds in ferocity until the singer’s bellowing his words out over a beautiful menagerie of brass-led noise. Even the delicate, piano-driven ‘Fools Game’ bursts into glorious waves of My Bloody Valentine-esque distortion. As opening salvos go, it’s quite a statement.
Born in Paris and recorded in Black Box studios, with former Frames guitarist David Odlum at the control desk, this album features long-time cohorts Joe Doyle and Romy, as well as Dublin electronic musicians Deasy and Dunk Murphy, and classically trained Iranian musicians the Khoshravesh brothers, who add layers of eastern swirl to tracks like ‘The Closing Door’.