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Passenger: Music for the dark and humorous heart.

Posted by goldwriting on August 4, 2008

Someone told us playing in this tunnel would be “avant-garde”. What a bastard.

Every now and again you are pointed towards something which will shift your day, your mood, maybe your whole life, in a whole new direction. It would be a little presumptuous of me to say this band from Brighton in the UK will do all those things, but I feel safe saying they will at least catch you smiling without knowing it, maybe even reminiscing about another feeling lost so long ago. Either way, there’ll be an affect.

Passenger is a five piece band led by Mike Rosenberg and they slide into the pop/rock scene with a slightly different take on things. The melodies are sweet and the sound is earnest, but if you were to read the lyrics all on their own, you might think something wicked this way comes. The most notable track for the switch hit off their upcoming album, Wicked Man’s Rest, is “Walk You Home”, a upbeat diddy beginning in the world of puppy love and office crushes and ending deep in the shadows and high in the trees of stalkers and obsession. It actually took me a couple listens before I stopped bopping my head to the music and heard the lyric, “I’m the boy with restraining orders”. Can’t say that line pops up a lot in the love songs I usually listen to. Moving forward to a more straight forward track about loneliness and separation, there is “Table for One”, a beautiful ballad which paints not only a simple visual picture, but also an audio landscape to sweep the listener up into its arms. Then, just so we don’t leave out the other side of love affairs, the angry and angst ridden one, there’s “Do What You Like”, a song about letting yourself be played time and time again in the endless hope of winning in the end.

Each of the tracks mentioned above, plus all the others featured on their MySpace page and Official site, have a wonderful sense of purpose, a truth and honesty about feelings and emotions which we often don’t talk about openly. Adding an important extra touch is the humor and levity covering the songs and keeping them from becoming too heavy or melodramatic. Passenger achieves emo-pop power without the black nail polish, eyeliner and social morays.

For those people living in the LA area, Passenger is playing on 8/11 at the Hotel Cafe in downtown Hollywood. It’s a great venue, which I’ve been lucky enough to see them play at once before, and I can think of few better ways to spend a Monday night. Start your work week off right with some happy/sad/clever/infectious live music!

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