Do you know who Passenger is? There’s an 80 per cent chance it’s because of Ed Sheeran. Do you know who Stu Larsen is? There’s an 80 per cent chance it’s because of Passenger.

Larsen has appeared at countless shows alongside Passenger, warming up crowds with his charming banter and sweetly pleasant voice. Larsen clearly looks up to his friend, to the point where he’s even enlisted him on production duties for the all-important debut. While it’s certainly given Larsen the leg-up he needs, Vagabond serves more as a step sideways than forwards. His coy lyrical imagery and obvious storytelling lack depth and subtlety, and many of the songs tend to blend into one another.

Of course, it’s far from an ugly record – lush harmonies and warm guitar lines add a touch of homeliness to the album. It’s simply a matter of playing it too safe where some leaps of faith are needed.

If Larsen wishes to ever escape from Passenger’s ‘Frequently Bought Together’ section on Amazon, work needs to be done in regards to carving out his own identity. Just because he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he has to finish last in the grand scheme of things.

3/5.

Vagabond is out now through ie:music / Inertia.

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