Single Review: Passport to Stockholm – Shooting Stars

By on Monday, 21st November 2016 at 12:00 pm

Passport to Stockholm comes into this autumn as a trio. Still led by Chris “Barny” Barnard and bolstered by the beats plus synths of Henri Grimes, they’ve added a guitarist simply known as “Telmo”, assured to be “really great” according to their Instagram, to complete their new lineup. Back in the spring, they released ‘Better Days’, which represented a more run-of-the-mill pop direction than their previous tunes, which had been enhanced by the unusual-for-pop addition of cello. Following the departure of Mariona De Lamo, it appears that on ‘Shooting Stars’, they’ve continued this further evolution towards the mainstream.

The question now is whether they’ve merely dipped a toe into that pool or dived headfirst. As ubiquitous as synthesisers are in pop music these days, I wouldn’t have been so surprised had it been any other band. However, knowing what they sounded like before, having reviewed their excellent ‘All at Once’ EP in September 2015, the first listen to Passport to Stockholm’s latest felt quite jarring, as if Coldplay or Kodaline had horned in on the band’s recording session and proceeded to give them the Midas touch.

Make no mistake, Barnard’s voice has never been better, and the tune has an enjoyable bopping nature that makes it a clear candidate for feel good pop melody of the year. Listeners racking up a combined incredible million plays on the band’s Spotify account, nearly half of those listens courtesy of the listening of ‘Better Days’, make the point that the people have spoken and they like this new direction. That said, we now live in a world where Bastille have sold millions upon millions of records doing practically the same kind of music. If it’s Passport to Stockholm’s intention to join that particular fray and shoot for mainstream stardom, it’s going to take a lot of work to reach the top and stay there.


‘Shooting Stars’ is out now. For more on TGTF on Passport to Stockholm, go here.

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