Eight albums already in, Passenger is back for one last time before he takes a long deserved break, adding an additional 10 tracks to his already officially released 89. Before even breaking into the album we know what to expect at this point, and hats off to Mike Rosenberg because he does it so well; the familiar acoustic guitar driven chord shaped melodies, the rough smoker’s soulful voice and the more recent musical layers that comes from playing in a collaborative band.Since his first solo album Wide Eyes Blind Love in 2009, Rosenberg has continued to refine his folk formula, but hasn’t evolved, experimented or changed his musical direction in the way Bob Dylan picked up an electric guitar or Ben Howard drastically distanced himself from traditional folk music through I Forget Where We Were.
it’s clear that Passenger knows where his strengths lay
However the simplicity of Rosenberg’s music, most notably track ‘And I Love Her’ from the album, showcases his superb lyrical and finger-style guitar playing skill that makes you question whether any departure from this music would be healthy. Unlike The Lumineers’ second album Cleopatra which was a very safe (almost boring) move following their first, it’s clear that Passenger knows where his strengths lay and kudos to him for firmly sticking to them and perfecting himself as a performer over the last eight years. The blues tinted track ‘Sweet Louise’, although questionably similar sounding to the Beatles ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, fantastically displays this development and further movement from solo artist to a fully fledged band.
Those wanting something different from Rosenberg should know better by now, and those returning for more will be delighted to extend their Passenger catalogue. However he’s yet to write another song that will rise to the heights of ‘Let Her Go’; with ‘Anywhere’ from Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea being it’s closest rival. Sadly there aren’t any tracks in contention this time around.