The Swell Season

The Swell Season is the stirring, earnestly emotional duo forged by Irish rocker Glen Hansard and Czech pianist Markéta Irglová. While co-starring in the 2007 sleeper indie hit Once, they fell in love, transforming big-screen fantasy into reality. The film also led to a wildly successful international concert tour and Academy Award for Best Song. The downside of two artists living such a literally cinematic romance in the public eye, however, is remaining under that invasive gaze when their relationship fails. Strict Joy, the follow-up to their self-titled debut album, features a dozen songs about ebbing affections and remorse. More wistfully melancholic than brutal or bitter, Strict Joy is a sweeter, slicker recording than its predecessor, and it lacks some of the intimacy. That said, there are few acts with as much raw, creative fervor and meticulous musicianship as The Swell Season. And you know they’ll play the hits from the movie. HANNAH LEVIN

Sun., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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