Passenger's Whispers: What You Need To Know
Brighton-based singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg had been toiling away in relative obscurity for several years before landing himself a support slot on Ed Sheeran’s world tour at the back end of 2012, helping his fourth album, All The Little Lights, into the charts for what was one of the surprise hits of the year in 2013. Now he’s back with studio album no. 5. So what can we expect? Here’s everything you need to know…
What’s the background?
Mike Rosenberg had been a member of the band Passenger for several years but when the band dissolved in 2009, Rosenberg hung onto the name and began using it for his solo output. After 3 albums - Wild Eyes Blind Love, Diver & Submarines and Flight of The Crows, - chart success continued to elude the singer-songwriter from the south coast, but then he was spotted by Ed Sheeran who asked him to open for him on the Australian leg of his 2012 world tour.
The exposure has clearly been a turning point in Rosenberg’s career, with much of the chart success he has enjoyed since with All The Little Lights coming by way of antipodean audiences.
In January this year he announced album no. 5, out this week, naming it Whispers and saying of the new record:”This is easily the most 'up' album I've ever made, it's quite cinematic. There are lots of big stories and big ideas. There are also some sombre moments about loneliness and death but hey, it wouldn't be a Passenger album without those."
Who’s producing it?
Whispers has been co-produced by Rosenberg himself, along with Chris Vallejo, who also worked on All The Little Lights. In fact, the new album has even been recorded in the same Sydney recording studio using the same musicians that played on the previous LP. Well, why mess with a winning formula?
What are the standout tracks?
Opener ‘Coins in a Fountain’ starts as the album means to go on with an acoustic guitar-led ditty accompanied by strings and augmented by some interesting instrumentation that give the song a lilting, slightly tropical vibe. Lead single ‘Hearts On Fire’ is another delicate acoustic track that is slow and gentle but never mournful. ‘Thunder’ is one of the more upbeat songs on the record and produces a bit of a carnival feel, while elsewhere another highlight is the mellow brass and flutes of ‘Start a Fire’.
Does it deliver?
Rosenberg’s songwriting reminds of a lot of singer-songwriters of recent years - there are echoes of everyone from David Gray and James Blunt mixed with the rousing golf of Mumford and Sons. If this kind of thing is your scene that you’ll find plenty to enjoy about the record. Yes, its derivative and no, it isn’t going to change the face of music as we know it., but the songs are well-crafted and often beautifully arranged. Can he repeat the success of All The Little Lights? On this evidence, we don’t see why not.