Album – Wicked Man’s Rest – Passenger

Posted by admin on November 5th, 2008

I don’t why I get so surprised when I receive an unsolicited CD that just blows my socks off, as was the case with the Passengers’, Wicked Man’s Rest. This year has been a truly amazing one for killer albums and this one is right up there in my top 5. In fact it’s in rare company, as one of the albums that’s I’ve hesitated to score 10 out of 10, but I think that kind of perfection has to come from an album of mythical proportions, however this is as close as I think I’ll ever get, but I’m happy to be proved wrong.

Opening with the title track, “Wicked Man’s Rest”, it instantly grabbed me, and brought to mind another UK band, Mike Skinner’s, The Streets. The vocals are not as loose as the almost lackadaisical Skinner’s, but that urban vibe is certainly present. I love the start to “Night Vision Binoculars”, which features what can only be described as one of the old Casio VL-Tone keyboards, that were popular in the 80’s. Don’t let that fool you though, this soon breaks into a full on assault of cracking music. “Things You’ve Never Done” is a really interesting track, not because it’s a gentler, more emotional track, but because it has a flow and lyrical feel that is very reminiscent of US folk Icon, James Taylor. Don’t let that put you off, this is no has been granddad folk, this is a wonderful track that tips a nod to a legend, but manages to pull off a style all it’s own. This style flows over into the next track “Girl I Once Knew”, which has a wonderful piano accompaniment, and that instrument that is like a Zither, where you hit the strings, the name of which I can never remember, but then it may just be a synth sound, nevertheless it’s a wonderful added touch.

The tempo and energy level starts to ramp up again with “Do What You Like”, featuring an almost relentless acoustic guitar, that is just wonderful. “Needle in the Dark”, features vocals that are almost spoken and it’s here that I suddenly realised the lead vocalist was English. Listening back over the previous tracks again, indeed the English access is apparent, but it just seemed to burst forth starting with this track. “Four Horses” is a peculiar little track, as it’s very much a folk song in the James Taylor mould. At first I thought it an odd track, but it wasn’t long before I was won over completely.

“You’re On My Mind” features some wonderful keyboards, almost sounding like bells, evoking a wonderful, almost wintery atmosphere, and then bang, the track is off on a different tack, normally something that drives me nuts, but this atmospheric sound returns and exits, giving the track a kind of split personality, but it works beautifully. The production on this album is wonderful, with little sounds and effects, that really feel like they’re been craft, rather than just slapped together with no thought. This is highlighted in the track “For You”, which starts of with what sounds like a music box. There’s also some great guitar and not forgetting the great vocals. I could witter on a mile a minute, about the soundscape on all the tracks when I listen back over them.

For me, it’s the final two tracks that totally blow me away. “Walk In the Rain”, has that passion and drive, that just sweeps you up in the emotion. The strings are a nice added touch. This is one of those tracks that you can feel makes your heart beat faster and for me is just sheer genius. It’s “Table for One” however that for me has to be the crowning glory, on what for me is a masterpiece waiting for worldwide adulation and accolades. This is a track that I played over and over again. Bloody marvelous.

A final note, the CD I reviewed appears to be in a slightly different order to the album as it appears on iTunes. Just thought I’d mention it, before I get the usual emails.

Conclusion : What more can be said. I’m listening to “Table for One” as I write this conclusion and I can feel the hairs go up on the back of my neck. I have discovered a work of art. Now it’s your turn.

7 Responses to “Album – Wicked Man’s Rest – Passenger”

  1. Mark Smutz Smith Says:

    Passenger what can i say . . . ! ? ! Yes the album is every bit as good as the launchpad says ,but seriously go and see these guys live ,you wont see a better gig this year,next year any year . . . .

    p.s. you guessed it ,i’m a bit of fan !

  2. Andy Ginger Says:

    In full agreement with you Mark,saw these guys play an accoustic set supporting the also very excellent David Ford in Atlanta,brought the cd and have been hooked ever since,up there with the debut from Fleet Foxes as well…..

  3. Soondis Says:

    Wow, upon reading this review I realized that there are others who can appreciate the sheer genius of music. How well the words and intrumentals hormonize and mesh fantasically together. I bought this CD through bn about two months ago and have idolized it since. Passenger has quickly become one my favorite addictions.

  4. Sean Leitz Says:

    I completely agree!! The best album that I have heard in a very long time. It is also the rare kind of album that you love the very first time that you hear it, yet still continues to get better with each play.

  5. Nick Freeman Says:

    I come from London and got this album sept 2007, I have not stopped playing it since!! For some reason band have still not made it over here! I have seen them live twice and they are brilliant Hopefully the radio stations will see sense and start giving the airplay they deserve!!

  6. Dave Bowes Says:

    If you can, try and get the UK version of this album. It features a track called “Stray Dog” and is possibly the best track on the album.
    I'm mystified as to why it was omitted from the US version.
    Still 10 out of 10 for either version

  7. Tabesh Khan Says:

    I first heard this a couple of years back, and I am still mesmerized by Wicked Man’s Rest, I hardly find time to listen to his newer stuff. I can imagine that the new work would be just as brilliant but I can’t seem to get out of the trance of this one. Brilliant stuff.
    This thing of beauty…

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