You'll have first heard of Lisa Hannigan as the beautiful voice that brought such a haunting quality to Damien Rice's 2002 breakthrough album, O. Since their working relationship came to an end after a rather public and ugly falling out in 2007, she has gone on to forge a solo career of reasonable note, with her debut long-player, Sea-Sew, nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2009.
Now comes the follow-up from the Irish musician which, unsurprisingly considering its title, sees travel at the core of its theme. Specifically its effect on affairs of the heart. With its sweeping string arrangements, opening track Home alludes to slightly lusher, less home-made production than her debut. This is clearly Hannigan looking to take a step forward.
While it may be lazy to simply compare one artist to another, to say that Knots and What'll I Do? come across a little like Sarah Blasko covering KT Tunstall would give a pretty decent idea of what the more perky offerings on this record sound like. Also, Passenger has the same interesting mixture of whimsy and underpinning sadness that Julia Stone specialises in. Elsewhere, O Sleep is a lovely duet with Ray LaMontagne which reprises that delicate romance of her early work with Rice. The stripped down Little Bird is lovely and, with its delicate acoustic guitar, unobtrusive introduction of strings and her beautiful voice, illustrates what Hannigan is best at.
Passenger might not be an especially life-changing listen, but it is a sweet and honest record which showcases a certain gentle warmth about Lisa Hannigan that is undeniably rather charming.
Review by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media