Lisa Hannigan evidently has a thing for birds. On her second solo album since leaving long-time collaborator Damien Rice, the Irish singer-songwriter nods lyrically to Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" ("Little Bird"), trills intimacies to someone named Bird ("Nowhere to Go") and stretches the word itself into ornate, melodic flight patterns ("Passenger"). There’s kinship, to be sure: Her voice is light and agile, her phrasing like exquisite plumage, and her folksy songs move with deceptive power, sailing on guitars, strings and Irish drama.
Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan's second studio album, the lush yet hushed and evocative Passenger, firmly establishes the former Damien Rice accompanist as a formidable solo artist in her own right. Bolder than her 2009 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and cut with an effortless blend of defiance and sweetness, the ten-track collection stays true to Hannigan's folksy roots while establishing a more expansive pop sound. Throughout it all, it’s her mercurial voice that dominates, a croon that can go from the whispery, back-of-the-throat moan of Jesse Sykes and Vashti Bunyan to the crystal-clear, goosebump-inducing rallying cries of Florence + the Machine and Sandy Denny in a heartbeat.
Hannigan's honeyed voice electrified Damien Rice's affecting 2002 album O, but it was when their professional and romantic relationship ended that her solo career began: the delicate, winsome Sea-Sew was Mecury-nominated in 2009. Her voice remains the main attraction on this second album but its prettiness often sounds thin against the sort of arrangements that invite the description "plinky-plonky". The fey "O Sleep", for example, will have you grinding your teeth rather than gently drifting off.
A second LP from the Irish singer which feels unforced, spontaneous and timeless. David Sheppard 2011 County Meath’s Lisa Hannigan once harboured theatrical ambitions but first came to public attention not as a thespian but as the counterpoint voice (and occasional lead) in Damien Rice’s band. Quitting that successful, but for a fledgling songwriter, increasingly frustrating franchise in 2007, Hannigan’s hastily recorded solo debut of 2008, See Sew, gained her a Mercury Music Prize nomination and platinum sales.