Lisa Hannigan releases her second album, ‘Passenger’, on November 4th. It’s the follow-up to her Mercury-nominated debut, ‘Sea Sew’ and features the much-anticipated single, ‘Knots’ which is out now.
Lisa Hannigan famously made her name as the beautiful, breathy accompaniment to Damien Rice, with whom she sang and toured for seven years. Yet it is on this second solo album that you sense she’s truly found her own voice. Perhaps themost immediate example of this is the track ‘Knots’: an electrifying blend of Southern stomp, screeching strings and lyrical tales of a debauched, whiskey-soaked night, ‘Knots’ sounds like the kind of song Hannigan would only have the confidence to write now. And it shows across the album: ‘Passenger’ was recorded in little over a week, together with acclaimed producer Joe Henry (AniDiFranco, Solomon Burke, Loudon Wainwright III). “He’s a properSouthern gent,” says Lisa. “We got the train out to meet him in Pasadena, and as we alighted, Joe crossed the tracks to meet us. He was in one of those proper old American villages that has a hardware store and bakery and a butcher –not like anywhere that exists any more. We shook hands, and that sealed the deal.”
Much of ‘Passenger’ reflects these journeys Lisa has taken these last few years, both personally and professionally. “Many of these songs were written while I was away from home or on the road,” she says, “and the feeling of transience and nostalgia that this constant travelling evoked seemed to seep into every song.” The overarching theme of the record, then, is “those loves, heartbreaks, confusions and friendships that we take with us through life, over years and continents, enduring the passage of time.” This emotional landscape is captured quite literally on the album’s cover, which collates maps of the main places where the record was written (Dublin, Brooklyn, West Cork). As ever, it’sbeautifully detailed effort from Hannigan, who perforated the images into paper and shot light through them - creating a stunning map of her music in the process.
She may have taken a somewhat circuitous route to the limelight, but ‘Passenger’ feels like Lisa Hannigan has finally come of age. That said, she still bears the same worry and nerves of someone unsure why people are suddenly so interested in her. “I never used to feel comfortable calling myself a songwriter. I just used to think of myself as a singer. But now, I allow myself that luxury.”