Drive All Night, a four track EP from The Swell Season alumnus Glen Hansard, was released to raise money for a children’s charity. And though short in duration, it winds up being something of a mixed bag. Hansard has an uncanny and unmatched ability to build a song up into a crashing crescendo, perhaps best exemplified on his solo debut “Bird of Sorrow,” but certainly demonstrated across his collection. “Renata” attempts to do this on Drive All Night, but falls a bit short in maintaining listener interest through the first half of the track. While, “Step Out of the Shadows” is performed completely a cappella, making for an interesting and different sound.
These two tracks aren’t necessarily Hansard at his best, but the EP’s two opening tracks completely make up for them, and make Drive All Night well worth a listen. Opening with a brilliant, if safe, cover of The Boss’s “Drive All Night,” Hansard captures Springsteen’s power and emotion wonderfully, seemingly saying don’t fix what isn’t broken, and producing a very close reproduction of the original. It is however “Pennies in the Fountain” that takes the prize on Drive All Night. Right at home with the best songs Hansard has released, it is an enchanting vocal and musical performance on a release that will likely not end up being a classic, but is not without its charms.