Lisa Hannigan

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Editorial Review

Album review: "Sea Sew"

Lisa Hannigan's music has grown up a lot since her 2008 debut, "Sea Sew," which showcased her wispy vocals and soft tunes. The Irish musician stretches herself somewhat on her new album, "Passenger," playing with vocal textures and colors while adding thicker accompaniment.

Album opener "Home" showcases Hannigan's lovely and dynamic vocals floating above an almost arena-rock accompaniment. The upbeat and tastefully produced track "Knots" is the centerpiece, and hopefully an indication of the musical direction that Hannigan is headed.

Many of these new songs sound like you would hear them in an Irish pub on a damp night, such as the simple tune "Safe Travels (Don't Die)," in which the narrator offers advice to a departing loved one, or "Passenger," a cute ditty featuring mandolin and strong vocal harmonies that are sway-inducing.

As a whole, though, the songs feel a little disjointed, and after taking some interesting musical risks in the album's first half, Hannigan seems to settle into her comfort zone in the second half, singing pleasant if unmemorable acoustic folk melodies.

--Moira E. McLaughlin, Oct. 7, 2011