In the years since his Oscar-winning work with Marketa Irglova, Glen Hansard has re-positioned himself as a restrained balladeer, releasing a pair of solo albums (Rhythm And Repose and Didn't He Ramble) that double down on the singer's sweet side. But Hansard has also spent a couple decades as lead singer of The Frames, an Irish rock band with loads of anthemic fire in its belly. He's due to let loose a bit.
On Friday, Hansard releases Between Two Shores, which makes good on that promise. "Roll On Slow," its new single, doesn't so much amble as rumble along, with horns that build and billow — a sound that locates a neat midpoint between Hansard's warmly agreeable recent material and the white-knuckle belters that pepper his past catalog. "Roll On Slow" also comes with a gorgeous animated video, directed by Piotr Kabat, that nicely captures the new song's buoyant swells and notes of alienated longing.
"The video attempts to bridge the gap between animation and film," Kabat writes via email. "While it's entirely hand-drawn, the organic and grainy look is inspired by classical movies shot on film. In terms of story, we wanted to convey the vibe of a solo night out in New York — getting kicked out of bars and hanging out in front of liquor stores 'til sunrise just to escape from your own demons."
" 'Roll On Slow' was written while I was living in a former women's refuge called the Florence Mission on Bleecker Street in New York City," Hansard writes. "My girlfriend was away in Europe and I was drinking too much. I was walking home from [a] bar at dawn, which was happening a few too many mornings in a row. The song is simply about missing your girl and being unable to take care of yourself."
Between Two Shores comes out Jan. 19 via Anti.