If the songs on Passenger's Better Days EP could be described as a color,
the music found here would be the deepest shade of twilight blue, the color
the sky turns as it fades from daylight to darkness. Somehow that color signifies
earnest stargazings and sweetly painful musings on failed relationships and unrequited
love; Better Days could definitely be the soundtrack to sorting out one's
romantic woes. No wonder, then, that the producers of "Dawson's Creek" have approached
the band about having one of their songs appear in an episode for the DVD release
of the show.
The Boston-based foursome has taken its influences Travis, Coldplay and The Beatles and spun them into their own brand of atmospheric, melodic rock. The songs are an appealing blend of chiming guitar riffs, shimmering harmonies and singer Chris Linnane's emotive vocals. Linnane's voice is reminiscent of Travis' Fran Healy, the way that singer conveys heartfelt yearning, but Linnane does so in a much more understated way, and his style complements the music's engaging simplicity. Songs such as "Half Asleep" and "Ordinary
Girl" have melodies that remain in your head for days, but the highlight of the EP is its title track, which features an especially lovely chorus, the kind of dazzling crescendo of soaring vocals, guitar and piano that would perfectly underscore a Joey Dawson moment of star-crossed angst.
Yet despite all this, as I listened to the music I found myself wishing for something
to crash through the EP's mellow earnestness. Travis epitomize doe-eyed, sensitive
rock, but even they had an explosive tune like "All I Want to Do Is Rock" in them. Passenger have a real talent for crafting gorgeously hooky pop songs, but I hope that in the future they'll also occasionally explore some grittier sounds.