Album Reviews

Passenger

Young as the Morning Old As the Sea

Artist:     Passenger

Album:     Young As the Morning Old As the Sea

Label:     Nettwerk

Release Date:     09/23/2016

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Let it be stated here and now; Passenger, the nom de plume for singer/songwriter Michael Rosenberg, is a brilliant musician, one whose every offering evokes a sense of wide eyed wonder and exquisitely evocative aural incantations. While many members of today’s so called nu-folk movement opt to echo the pastoral sound of Nick Drake, Passenger goes far further. The music becomes a blend of elegiac eloquence, sublime sentiment and lush and lovely soundscapes where images of Norwegian fjords, the mist of the Scottish highlands, dense northern forests and the tranquility of the English countryside are all evoked within the same set of songs. Remarkably, Rosenberg keeps getting better, and now, with a new release on a major American label, there’s hope that the excellence of his artistry might fully capture the attention of American ears.

Recorded at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studio in New Zealand, Young as the Morning Old As the Sea effectively realizes the sprawling sentiments suggested by its title. It captures the cinematic sweep of distant surroundings, with a orchestral-like majesty that makes every track a spectacle all its own. Rosenberg’s voice, a precious instrument that used mainly in its upper registers, occasionally brings Cat Stevens to mind, with Renaissance or the Left Banke positioned as the backing band.

Still, comparisons don’t do Passenger’s music justice. The ornate arrangements and folk-like finesse give these songs a sense of sanctity and a remarkably radiant glow. Indeed, if “Everything,” “Home,” “Fool’s Gold” or the title track don’t seduce you, then your resistance makes any further attempts futile. Suffice it to say, this album is a genuine treasure and its brilliance will likely resonate for quite some time to come.

– Lee Zimmerman

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