I love Eddie Vedder. I do. Catching him perform solo at the State Theatre recently was just amazing. And yet, I can’t hide the truth: support act Glen Hansard blew him out of the water. Hansard’s voice contains all of the adjectives appropriate to trade mags – amazing, raw, honest – but rarely have they seemed so insufficient.
This EP – four tracks, including the eponymous Bruce Springsteen cover – has moments of great and delicate beauty (‘Pennies In The Fountain’ being the standout, or, as his American audiences mishear, ‘Panties In The Fountain’). But the lead track, ‘Drive All Night’, seems rather ironically to go nowhere.
Springsteen’s lyrics sound oddly disingenuous coming from Hansard, even with Vedder’s unique backup sighgrowl. It’s comfortable but forgettable, which is also somewhat true of the track ‘Renata’. Not without moments of energy and catchiness, it sounds very much like a Van Morrison song that never found its way into the light. The a capella ‘Step Out Of The Shadows’, however, is a short, lovely number; the kind of song to which you imagine yourself sitting on a mountaintop with your trusty (unlikely) Sherpa guide Glen singing out across the landscape.
A strong, if flawed EP.
Drive All Night is out now on Spunk.