Review from AWmusic (CA)
12 July 2009, Jessica
Lasse Passage is a Norwegian singer/songwriter that released his debut album, "If you don’t have time to cook, you don’t have time to live", back in February of this year. With an appeal that I can’t exactly put my finger on, Lasse Passage has conjured up an exquisite and heartwarming album.
Yes, it does tug at the heartstrings without being melodramatic. Even the most cynical songs have a warm demeanor to them that it could be so easily misinterpreted as happy. Or perhaps I’m misinterpreting them myself. Nonetheless, this is an album full of dreamy tunes that are not for the flighty or impatient. Lasse’s vocals has a certain quality to it that is perfectly imperfect, with an almost Southern touch to it…or perhaps that is just the Norwegian charm. The lyrics have an unusual bluntness to them at times: So don’t be so cocky when someone says ‘I love you’. Although it is straightforward prose, there seems to be something so poetic about the words he sings, and meshed in the sounds of a homey setting, the music comes together.
Lasse Passage has the appeal of Nick Drake at times, singing along to the finger picking of his guitar with a soft and mellow tone. His music tells you to leave all your city dispositions at the door, conjuring images of a more natural setting, perhaps in the middle of the woods as the sun beams down on your body, splitting at the shadows of tree branches and leaves. Indeed, his music could simplistically be described as mellow folk rock, with hints to Wilco and Nick Drake, but again, it requires a lot of attention, patience, and the right set of mind to listen to this album. Lasse Passage uses his classical training to create a complexity of sounds that comes together effortlessly.
“What Have I Done” is probably the most “rock” tune in the album, with a heavy-set similarity in style to Wilco and Travis, and is the only track to feature an electric guitar. Surprisingly, it is fitting in this album although it sets itself away from the other tracks in its general tonality. “Belize” is a fun, chirpy tune that is played by a full band of synthesizers, piano, horns, strings, and different types of percussions that even included some bongos. Lasse Passage demonstrates how crafty he is, being quite well-rounded by playing around with different techniques and sounds.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed If you don’t have time to cook…. It is an impressive debut and has a lot of potential for a great follow-up album, as well. Looking forward to future releases! Also, interesting to note is that Lasse Passage’s album is now selling in Toronto at Sonic Boom and Rotate This, our blog’s home city. I wouldn’t be surprised if his fan base grows here. This album is a definite must for all.