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Strict Joy

by admin October 27, 2009

The Swell Season – Strict Joy
(Tarquin; 2009)

8/10

Strict Joy is a haunting, melancholic, redemptive, sweet, restless and often angry recounting of a declining relationship.
The first track, “Low Rising,” hints at the beginning stages of romantic instability. The album concludes with the wistfully retrospective “Back Broke.”
However, despite the meticulously constructed theme, there are no truly remarkably penetrating songs. The song-writing is strong, the instrumentation is clearly born from decades of technical training, and the vocals harmonize together impeccably. Though, for such a talented couple, this album is a bit too safe. Markéta Irglová’s voice is sweetly simple, but dulls some slower songs, like “Fantasy Man.”
Strict Joy is a well-executed album, and with knowing, talented hands, it re-assembles heartbreak, note by note, leaving you desperate to hear the next chapter.

Trial Track: “Low Rising”