Glen Hansard of the Frames and Marketa Irglova, his on-again/off-again romantic interest and classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist, will be reforming their band Swell Season for a new album and tour.

Their sparse, introspective balladry nabbed them an Oscar last year for the score of the film Once, particularly the single “Falling Slowly.”

Of course, Once has emerged from being an artsy film shot on handycams around Dublin to being a classic rock movie. Think of it as a Celtic Purple Rain, letting the world inside of the music scene in Ireland’s capital. The disc went platinum in the U.S.

Some of the Swell Season members come from the Frames, which would indicate that the band is morphing into a backup band for Glen and Marketa.

It’s understandable and commendable that Hansard brings his friends along for this amazing ride, I suppose, but I sure do miss the venomous guitars of the Frames’ music when they decide to put down the acoustic guitars and turn the dial on the amplifier up to “11!”

Musicians who have appeared on their albums and accompanied them on tour include Marja Tuhkanen (violin), Bertrand Galen (cello), John Carney (bass guitar), Thomas Bartlett (keyboard), Joseph Doyle (bass guitar), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (violin), Rob Bochnik (guitar) and Graham Hopkins (drums).

“The lads and Mar are now taking a little well earned break before all the madness starts on the touring and promoting of the new record front,” reports Frame manager in an email to the Irish Voice over the weekend.

“She's (the record) finally finished and she's mastered and she's sitting in a factory waiting for her artwork clothes so she can get dressed and come out into the world.  The lads have been in and out of the studio between tours this past year, recording with Peter Katis at his Tarquin Studios in Connecticut.” 

Twelve tracks made the final cut for the record that will be called Strict Joy, inspired by the prose of Irish poet James Stephens.

Members of the Frames join bandmates from Levon Helm’s touring band on the new release. The album was scheduled for a release in late September, but we won’t get to hear it until it’s October 27 release on Anti Records.

Swell Season will be touring America with Lisa Hannigan in the November timeframe. Hannigan released Sea Saw earlier this year, and it is the neatest album this reviewer has heard in 2009.

The gorgeous violin-based folk on tracks like “An Ocean and a Rock” and “Splishy Splashy” will be a perfect compliment to Swell Season’s introspective interplay. For more information on the duo, log onto