Passenger: All The Little Lights

Music Reviews
Passenger: All The Little Lights

Passenger began as an English quintet in the early 2000s and released its debut album Wicked Man’s Rest in 2007. Although the four other original band members moved on after the initial record’s release, the remaining Mike Rosenberg persevered. The singer and multi-instrumentalist independently released three additional albums under the Passenger moniker prior to All The Little Lights. And while All The Little Lights has been available in his adopted home of Australia for months, Rosenberg’s latest effort is now hitting American shores.

Passenger’s indie pop is reminiscent of other young British men with guitars—like a less-falsetto-driven Aqualung or a peppier Ben Howard, but with a folky sensitivity akin to future tourmate and English sensation Ed Sheeran. However, Rosenberg’s wordplay, clever rhymes and deadpan humor distinguish him from fellow musicians lumped into the expansive “singer/songwriter” category.

Though Rosenberg funded the album’s recording and production by busking between tour dates, the fully fleshed-out songs on All The Little Lights lend themselves to full-band performances. The use of strings in opener “Things That Stop You Dreaming,” as well as the banjos and horns in “Staring at the Stars” give the album a wider range of musical depth. Additionally, the realist-tinged ballad “Let Her Go” and the swinging, wistfully romantic “Patient Love” represent particularly bright spots on All The Little Lights.

In the hilarious closer, a live-recorded semi-parody called “I Hate,” Rosenberg sings, “I hate The X-Factor for murdering music, you bunch of money-grabbing pricks.” Luckily, Passenger serves as a very real, welcome alternative to reality TV talent shows, proving original songwriters do still exist.

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