The Passengers Reimagined - The Passengers (self released)
The talent that stumbled out of the late ''70s Darlinghurst scene in Australia was astonishing: a match for anything coming out of London, New York or Los Angeles. But geography and population density is a fucking bitch.
Even scene bosses Radio Birdman are considered an underground phenomena. So what chance is there for the small fry?
Meet The Passengers (if you have not already done so.). Hey. Make sure you find the right ones because there are some dodgy international acts with the same moniker. They briefly graced us with their presence as the seventies clicked over. A gift we clearly we did not deserve because we utterly failed to surrender the charts to them.
They shone brightly and faded away. Around 2007, the core members reformed to produce an acoustic album “In the Garden of Good and Evil.” Most of you ignored it. When they played, about seven people came.
The Barman wrote a solid five bottle review and sung you its virtues about six years ago. Once again, few of you listened. It is rare you will hear The Barman singing the virtues of an acoustic album. It would have to be something sensational.
And it of course is.
Angie Pepper is the greatest vocalist to come out of Australia. There. I said it. Not only does she have the technical skill, she has an impossible emotional connection with the material. It always feels like she is telling you something in confidence. It is a rare gift.
Heck, she could even take Deniz Tek lyrics and make the Iceman sound like an emotional apocalypse.
Plus, she was cool. Cool goes a long way.
Jim Dickson on bass. New Christ, Barracuda, Survivor and later day Birdman. He’s also put out a damn fine solo album. It seems superfluous to heap further praise but I will. If you have Jim on board, you know you have your bottom end covered.
Finally, Jeff Sullivan. Jeff is a great guitar player - not because of the false flag of flash but because he plays with empathy for those he shares the stage with. He knows when to step up and when to step back. I double dare you to list three other guitarists who understand that most simple of tasks.
It doesn't hurt that Jeff is a tremendous songwriter either. Just because you write a song, it doesn't make you a songwriter. Jeff writes songs the way they're supposed to be written. By the final note, you always know you have been on a journey.
As good as “In the Garden of Good and Evil” is, it still raised a question because you could always hear an even bigger album waiting to burst out of it.
I always wondered what Phil Spector would have made of it. Yes, I know. Phil Spector is a murderous piece of shit who deserves to be in prison. But couldn't his sentence involve a little giving back to society? Couldn't he just be chained to a mixing desk and be supplied with new albums to mix?
A re-imagination seemed so plausible. Jim’s bass playing was tight enough to set a watch to. If you lined it up with a drum machine, you’d probably shake your head at the electrics if there was any variance.
Well. We didn't get a Phil Spector reimagining but Jeff Sullivan’s return to the album isn't too shoddy. The additions are more subtle than you may expect. But it works tremendously well. As The Barman gave the original album a five, this surely deserves a six.
It's a very limited run of 200. You get the original album and a cd-r of the reimagined album signed and numbered and ultra do it yourself. I could give you a run down of the songs but you don't need it. They're all brilliant. Just listen to this and you won't need to listen to my silly mumblings.
Now go buy it.