An astonishing debut from a band that promise to be something very special indeed.
Brighton five-piece Passenger are preparing to take the country by storm this September with the release of their much anticipated debut album 'Wicked Man's Rest'. This five track album sampler provides an early insight into their creation, and has certainly whetted the appetite.
The quintet have already received some excellent reviews and welcome attention from the respected music press, including being championed by Radio One's Jo Whiley, and on this evidence it's easy to see why. From opener 'Do What You Like', it's immediately apparent that this isn't the bog-standard acoustic pop that seems to be churned out so often these days. James Morrison, thank God, this is not. With an urgent rising chord passage and Mike Rosenberg's high yet attractive vocal range, topped off with skittering drums some occasional electronic ambience, this track is very appealing and gets things off to a good start.
'Walk You Home' is a bouncy, upbeat little number, with chiming funk guitar creating a toe-tapping rhythm that makes you want to kick off your shoes and dance along barefoot. The essence of summer is captured within the chorus, created by hazy synth and keyboard melodies to compliment the guitar and velvety vocals. The simple structure and recurring melodies really get stuck in your head, and don't expect them to budge for a fair few days.
Title track 'Wicked Man's Rest' is a more subdued affair, with the guitar taking more of a backseat to the haunting, delayed keyboard melodies. The vocals are taken down a notch and blend beautifully with the subtle arpeggio guitar, building once more towards the songs climax. The colour in Mike's voice and the emotiveness of the lyrics really shine through on this track, emphasised by the excellent production techniques used to create a shimmering atmosphere.
'Things You've Never Done' is, without a shadow of a doubt, the album highlight. This track is simply beautiful. Spine tingling lead guitar melodies, arpeggio chords, sustained piano chords, choral backing singers and majestic violins, this track has absolutely everything. The instruments tie together so neatly that it's only on second and third listens that you realise exactly how much is happening, creating a depth and emotional response akin to Damien Rice at his best.
Closer 'Table For One' is dominated by complimenting lead guitar melodies, while Rosenberg's voice returns to the upper range it utilises so well. The shortest track on the album, it's more focussed, more traditional acoustic music; none of the creative production and atmospheric effects that were present in the earlier tracks.
In summary, there isn't a single weak track on this album. If this five track sampler is anything to go by then the full length is going to be something very special indeed. Watch this space, because Passenger are going to be huge, and rightfully so. Brilliant.