Three years after her Mercury nominated debut, ‘Sea Sew’, Lisa Hannigan returns with an affirming and confident second album that is a joy to listen to. More dense and varied than its predecessor, ‘Passenger’ is brimming with little pockets of warmth and soul that lend the album a real sense of cohesiveness and purpose.
From the sweeping string-laden beauty of ‘Home’ to the beautiful lullaby duet with Ray Lamontagne ‘O Sleep’, there is great musical intelligence on show here. This song in particular resonates with an echo of Hannigan’s former partner Damien Rice, Lamontagne’s husky vocals elegantly accompanying her whispered lyrics.
Amongst the album’s ten lovingly crafted tracks, other highlights include the gospel backed ‘What’ll I Do’, whilst ‘Paper House’ strums along with a serenely melancholy edge. It is testament to the folkish skills of Hannigan, that she can flutter between the brilliantly morbid ‘Safe Travels’ (‘the gasoline pump’s not a toy, safe travels,’ she sings) to heartfelt honesty (album closer ‘Nowhere To Go’) so effortlessly.
Whilst ‘Passenger’ is not quite as immediately accessible as ‘Sea Sew’, Hannigan’s songs here are determined to surpass her previous work, and when each one is filled with such an abundance of soul and heart, it proves hard to deny them this.