Tuesday, October 05, 2004


By Jordan Reyne

It's a bit of fourth album blues here for one of my favorite artists ever. Her last two albums, released under the name Dr. Kevorkian and the Suicide Machine, are probably my top two kiwi albums ever. Unfortunately this one doesn't quite live up to their high standards, but it's still pretty good.

The title track 'Passenger', is a nice but somewhat forgetable opener that sets the tone for the album. Musically it's similar to the previous album 'The Loneliest of Creatures'. Lots of droning synths and random noise and samples. However Passenger is a lot lighter and less ambient. Plus she actually sings on most of the tracks this time, whereas TLoC was mostly instrumental. The ambient noises are all derived from the sounds of planes, airports and trains, in keeping with the theme of the album.

The next track is 'Green' (no, not a cover of the Goodshirt song). For the first half of the song it is just a single bass drone, with the vocals over the top. It immediately made me glad she decided to sing again on this album. Her voice and her lyrics are both great.

This is followed by 'The Nothing'. Pretty much just very low bass droning and nothing else. That might sound a bit boring, but it doesn't go for very long. It sounds like a musical reference to TLoC, and that fits with what it says about the relationship between two albums on the website. Anyway, I'll repeat what I said when I first listened to TLoC, "You can't go wrong with a good bass drone!"

Next is 'Empty Stations'. I don't like this one so much. The upbeat vocals and drums are a bit too trancey for me.

Fortunately it's followed by the haunting instrumental 'Warsaw', probably my favorite track on the album, all spooky droning and tribal drums.

The next three songs are 'Waiting for the Sun', 'Letters Home' and 'Fear of Flying'. They're all pretty good, but a little samey, in the same vein as 'Passenger'. Nice lyrics though.

'Karlsruhe' is quite similar in tone and style to 'Empty Stations', but I liked it a whole lot more. Probably because she sounds a lot angrier in this one.

'The Machines of B' is next. I like this one too. For some reason it always strikes me as being somewhat pop compared to the rest of the album, but that doesn't stop it from being good.

Finally, there is the secretish track 'The Freeing of Baghdad', which is really good. The music is overlayed by traditional arabic singing, and a fairly ominous spoken sample by some British dude, talking about an unspecified group commiting unspecified atrocities. I don't know exactly what context the quote is from, but it's quite unsettling.

Anyway, while this album is a little disappointing when compared to its predecessors, it's still one of my better purchases recently. She's got a new album coming out next year (sponsored by DOC apparently), which I'm really looking forward too.

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