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Wicked Man's Rest

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Album Review

There are times when English-speaking listeners can't tell whether or not an alternative pop/rock band is British. Bands from Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, York, or Newcastle-upon-Tyne don't necessarily sound like they're from England; some British bands sound like they could just as easily be from Seattle or Minneapolis. But other British bands have a distinctly U.K. sensibility; Oasis, Suede, Radiohead, and Coldplay immediately come to mind. And on their debut album, Wicked Man's Rest, Brighton, England's Passenger favor a tuneful, alternative pop/rock approach that is unapologetically British-sounding. It isn't just the melodic and harmonic influence of the Beatles as well as more modern U.K. icons like Coldplay and Radiohead; it's also the lyrics that Passenger's lead singer Mike Rosenberg writes — lyrics that often have a dry, witty sense of humor that is recognizably British. That isn't to say that Rosenberg goes out of his way to ignore non-British artists; in fact, Passenger's website describes him as "a singer/songwriter reared on Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Van Morrison," which means that he grew up listening to Americans (Dylan), Canadians (Young), and Irishmen (Morrison). But Brit-pop is the dominant influence on clever tracks such as "Night Vision Binoculars," "Four Horses," and "Needle in the Dark"; Wicked Man's Rest falls on the Brit-pop side of alternative pop/rock, and that's a positive thing because Rosenberg is obviously good at what he does. Wicked Man's Rest is mildly inconsistent, but overall, this is a promising and attractive debut from Rosenberg and his colleagues.


Born: 2007 in Brighton, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Passenger, the working name of singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg, makes intimate, folk-inflected indie pop. Originally a four-piece, Passenger formed in Brighton, England, as a collaboration between singer/songwriter Rosenberg and composer Andrew Phillips. Working out of Phillips' studio, the duo recorded the songs that would become Wicked Man's Rest, Passenger's debut album. The disc was released on ChalkMark in 2007 and spawned several singles including "Wicked Man's Rest," "Walk You Home," "Do...
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