TRACK REVIEW: Passive - Like This




Like This




The track, Like This, is available via:




Watford, U.K.


30th November, 2018


AS we are coming to the end of the year...

I wanted to look at what trends we might see in 2019 and why bands will make a revival. I will also investigate subjects in songs and why it is important to redefine and remould; a quick check at releasing music and why it is best to put quality over quantity; artists who are playing outside of London but get the best of both worlds; why next year will be an important one for music – I will end by looking ahead and seeing where Passive might head. There are a lot of impressive aspects regarding Passive but, perhaps, their name is not one of them. It is short and simple but it also happens to be very hard to Google. I can understand why they wanted something punchy but, not only are there other bands called Passive, but it is incredibly difficult to narrow down the guys on a search engine. There is not a lot they can do about it now but I do wonder whether their name is the best representation about who they are and how they stand out – one would not heard the name and instantly think about a unique and sparkling band who are doing things their own way. Maybe I am not seeing their side of things but it is just as well the band produce fantastic music. Their creative name and identity stands out a lot more than the one-syllable, Google-unfriendly name they have chosen to emblazon their uniforms with. I mention the name thing because, in order to get ahead and make the biggest stride, you need to distinguish yourself and be as visible as possible. In terms of the mainstream sounds; I think solo artists will continue to rule and there will be an increase in the artists who are talking about politics and social issues. The underground, mind you, will be very different. Things are not quite the same there.


I think Passive will be among the chasing pack and there is going to be that need for bands to come through and make a statement. Whilst I think it is great solo artists are having more influence and they are the ones who are creating the biggest albums; bands have started to fade out in the mainstream and take less of a role. I have explored this before and wondered why this shift has happened – 2019 will be different regarding the underground and that imbalance. Whilst there are a lot more solo artists than bands in new music; I feel that desire for band-made music will change this trend. I feel we will clamber after bigger sounds and a sense of unity. Given the fact the U.K. is divided and isolated right now; that psychological issue – being alone and wanting to go solo – will have an effect on music. I am seeing some great bands emerge and make terrific music but it is solo artists who are getting most of the acclaim. I am seeing many pining for something bigger and a solid musical unit. I like solo artists a lot but do miss the days when bands were leading and what we were all listening to. Perhaps we have come too far to see that scene return but it is what bands are saying – or what they are not saying – that is giving solo artists the edge. Solo artists have the ability to be more diverse with their material and they can be a lot more personal. I think bands have got caught looking at rather general themes such as love and have not dug as deep as solo artists. The reason I think bands in the underground will make a claim is because of the way the world is changing and how music needs to react. We cannot stand by and see how things are shaping up without taking note. Passive talk about conventional subjects like relationships but they seem to have that desire to go further and write something important. They want to be discovered and loved and, to do that, they need to follow the likes of IDLES when it comes to subject matter. I do not think bands can strictly narrow their focus in a market that wants to see them succeed, push forward and rise to the top.

The band’s latest cut, Like This, redefines what youth is and puts a new spin on things. It is not, as you might expect, immature and generic but it goes a lot further and explores different angles. Maybe Passive are a few years off getting mainstream attention but they need to follow the same path as the biggest bands out there. In terms of lyrics and themes, Passive are doing the right thing and are not rigidly sticking with broken hearts and the same complaints. That is not to say heartache and strain is not valid and desired, but I think too many artists get fixated and do not understand the need to widen their horizons. If we are all listening to the same music and the same words, it means we are not being challenged and we go looking elsewhere. I think bands, as I say, will do a lot better in 2019 in terms of the underground and the subjects talked about will contribute to that heavily. The band, now, are discussing youth and a unique take on that but I think they will go even further and keep pushing things. I feel they can tackle subjects like politics and what is happening in the world but also stay closer to home. I am not one who feels relationships need to be ignored and we should forget them but too many people get fixated. Passive impress me because they combine an original set of lyrics and pair that with music that has so much colour, diversification and nuance. You can hear one of their songs and discover new light every time you investigate things. I do not think it is a coincidence artists who have made this year’s best albums are standing away from love and are looking at the wider world. I have some suggestions for bands like Passive and how they can succeed in 2019.

I have been a bit down on their name – their song titles are more striking – but they can do something about the lyrics and themes. They have already made a big impact regarding their voice and songbook but now, more than ever, we want bands to create music that is stirring and takes a political stance. We have lived through a hectic and chaotic year and are more separate than ever. I am not sure what next year will hold and whether we will be more stable than 2018. I doubt things will improve anytime soon and, because of this, we are looking to music for a sense of guidance, unclouded truth and escape. Bands who want to succeed and get into the mainstream need to think about music in these terms now. They need to provide some fun and light escape but also balance that with songs that study fresh angles and have a conscience to them. Alongside that, it is vital groups need to be the political voice and have to lead our hand. It might be impossible to achieve all of this but the desire for bands has waned because there are few who are striking the heart and opening the mind. The mainstream has seen a few great bands take big strides and resonate and I think this will translate into the underground. I think Passive opened their music account with a bang and, although they talked about angst, they are already growing and expanding their horizons. It is all well and good providing a blast of noise and anger but that will not last and impress if there is a samey and predictable message at work. General tension, angst and anger is useless if others cannot relate or a deeper message is not at play. We have seen bands perform for decades and the new crop needs to be aware of this. Passive have taken a big leap on their new single and are not solely talking about their own lives and are showing more maturity, awareness and boldness.


The guys are balancing the demands and appeal of London with the different scene and identity of Watford. I think Watford is a great place for music and has that proximity to the capital. What gets me is how there is that focus on London and nowhere else. We know cities like Manchester and Leeds have a great scene and we are not placing a lot of attention there. London is vital but I feel you can take advantage of the city and not live there. The guys of Passive have played shows around Watford and are creating a legacy there but they are close enough to London and can get advantages from there. I do think it can be expensive and risky basing yourself in London and not always ideal. If you have a base that is close enough to commute but you do not have the same pressures and strains then that can benefit the music. I think Watford is a very up-and-coming place that needs to be explored more and many of us overlook. It is not as popular and bustling as Liverpool or Leeds but there are some great acts coming through. Passive have played some great local gigs but they have the ambition to head to London and conquer the city. They are playing in Hoxton tomorrow and are on the stage at nine. It is good to see them gain attention and traction in London but I feel they can base themselves in Watford and not lose focus. If you live in London, it does not mean you will have an advantage over anyone else and it can cause some damage. Being too engrossed in the city and being in the rush has an excitement but it can wear you down. The ability to have some personal space to create and that convenience to commute to the capital seems to be working for a lot of artists.

Passive have said the reason they are a band and playing together is because of the gigs. Live experience and getting that instant reaction is the most important thing to them. That makes sense. If you are in a band then you need to be seen and have people watch you connect. The way to do that is to get onto the stage and bond with the audience. Because of that, Passive are getting themselves out there and want that acclaim. They are doing well in Watford and gaining a name for themselves there but London is a harder game. We have more competition and it is trickier getting up that ladder. Passive are taking the right course and their exceptional live show, combined with their subject matter and natural bond means they are making waves and getting moving. I think it will be a while before they can command the biggest stages and gain the acclaim they need but the guys have focus. There are a few reasons why the guys are getting ahead and being talked about. We live in a time where people are updating their Instagram account hourly and they need to post everything they eat. The same goes for social media. We get fixated with exploring and sharing every facet of our lives and that desire to be seen all of the time. It can be quite a negative culture and that blends into music. Many assume that, unless you are putting out new material each month, we will look elsewhere. There is truth in some of that argument. I do not feel artists should leave a huge gap and be quiet for too long – that can be quite a mistake. Rather than leave years between albums; I think a new song every few months is not too excessive or lacking. Passive feel that there is this need to always shove songs out into the world or you will not get noticed.

They realise it is better to have that quality and pace things a bit rather than rush into the world. I have seen artists who have put out music every month and they worry people will look elsewhere if you are away for a while. It is more important to have songs you believe in and stand up rather than rushing into things. I hear artists who have a catalogue of songs and they all sound fairy alike. Maybe they mean well but there is little risk leaving a bit of a gap. So long as you do not leave an enormous gap between songs and E.P.s then you are okay. People will buy into the music and stay with you if you have the quality and potency. Passive have managed to step from their debut and have grown between releases. I feel like they have learned a lot and are keen to produce music that is more stirring and enduring. Rather than look at love, anger and vague issues; they have brought us a new song that explores youth and puts a new spin on it. Like This is a great song that gets into the blood and shows its quality. The band has spent time crafting a song that is natural yet powerful and they have managed to make that leap. I think there is this wider concern new artists risk being lost and overlooked if they are not constantly in the spotlight. Passive have taken the risk, however small, and are placing quality over quantity. I know they will continue to stick with this practice and continue to make great music. I will look at what 2019 holds for Passive but, right now, they are ending the year will a big statement. Many will want to see an E.P. from them very soon but I know the band will want to make sure their sound and material is solid before they commit.


Given the fact Passive can be quite explosive and bold; many might not have expected something quite tender and soft in the opening of Like This. We hear of a raw and eager tiger in the hand; sandwiches and someone on their break. There is this fusion of images and unique lyrical viewpoints that get the mind working and made me wonder what the song was about. I know the band is talking about youth and things around that but there is oblique quality in the opening lines. You are posting and conspiring opinions but the images lead the imagination in various directions. One hears a lot of melody and texture through Like This. Rather than go for the throat and throw too much energy into the song – like many bands would – there is an accent and personality that emerges from the song. The hero will keep doing what he does and, at every stage, there is some mystery behind the lyrics. I get the impression there is a particular relationship being document but, rather than cast blame and talk about something negative, something larger than the relationship itself is being explored. Our hero wants to fix things and look at the positive sides. If you are young, it can be hard to keep things together and show that maturity. Many make bad mistakes or let things crumble too soon. I get the sense the lovers are hoping for the best to an extent and they are not sure the best way to make things last. Maybe there is a temptation to walk away but, rather than play to the natural course of youth, there is something more adult and strong-willed emerging. The hero is talking about limbo and stepping out of it. Maybe this is a rough patch and things are not as clear as they used to be. A lot of songs about relationships are either concentrated on blame and sorrow or the lust side of things. It can be quite boring hearing the same thing over and over.


Passive have taken a different angle and they are showing great heart. The lyrics to Like This are not your usual fare and are very matter-of-fact. There is no disguising the fact the couple are drifting a little and unsure but the hero wants them to move in the right direction. The composition supports the words with comfort and guidance but never seems too thin. In many ways, I am reminded of Arctic Monkeys and their more settled and explorative work. Passive take the sound down a bit but that does not mean there is a lack of passion. They only recently released their debut single – I interviewed them about that – and it is good to see a variety and evolution come into their work. I feel a lot of bands feel like they need to be too heavy and frantic regarding the composition but Passive are showing more grace, intelligence and emotion. As the percussion riffles and the lead talks about blame and conscience; the cooing and harmonised backing vocals remind me of Supergrass. It is a nice combination of influences and sounds that makes Passive’s new track a winner. A lot of new bands would rush in and produce a song that was very gutsy and raw. Instead, Passive are able to explore issues around youth and how to handle a bad situation. Every listener will get their own viewpoint regarding the song and have their own take. It is not obvious whether the two survived and who is really to blame for the friction. Perhaps they have been together a long time and it just a case of things naturally starting to come away at the seams. Our hero is resolute and showing some positivity but there are a lot of different issues that need to be resolved and discussed.

I was drawn to the very mature yet evocative sound put out and how much personality there is. The voice is not drowned by the composition: our man is able to discuss the situation and win over the heart with a very effecting delivery. It is rare to see a band explore maturity and relationships in a song like this and that is a positive for Passive. I am not sure whether they will look at politics and social subjects next year but I think the only way they will grow and challenge the best is to think like that. It is good hearing about relationships but we do not always want to hear about them. It can be very boring and depressing and, in a fractured world, there are more important things to look at. Passive know this – I hope they do step out of a comfort zone in 2019 – and have crafted a great song that gets into the head and takes a different stance. It is wonderful hearing Like This unfold and the way it strikes the imagination. Even though they are talking about something that is quite common and routine; there are new considerations and a fresh approach. The guys know the same old clichés and angers will not cut the mustard and have produced a song that is both relatable and original. This is a hard trick to pull off so kudos should head the way of Passive. I like their sound and the fact they are not following everyone else. You get grace, tenderness and something more stirring in Like This. There is explosion and force but it is more lyrical and suggested rather than volume-based. You can tell they have worked hard on the song and really spent the time to craft something pure and meaningful.

It has been a good and prominent year for Passive. The guys formed last summer so they are fairly new to the industry. Their rise and popularity has come off of the back of a fresh and raw sound that fuses with memorable lyrics. Anti Romantic was a good debut but they have come a long way in a short space. Rather than repeat a song that looks at a feeling of disconnect and anger; there is something more mature and original with Like This. I feel the guys are making big statements and they are going to have an exciting 2019. Make sure you catch them in London tomorrow but, if not, catch them on the road in 2019. I know they will have London shows but will want to keep busy in Watford. I do hope they manage to balance the relative quiet of their home and be able to commute to the capital a lot. We all get too focused on London music but there is this danger of forcing artists there in the assumption they can only succeed if they are where the action is. It can be hard to get acclaim out of London but good music will stand up for itself. Passive are anything but and are proactive in their ambitions. It is challenging being able to tackle the competition and stay ahead but I opened by talking about bands and how they will get more acclaim next year. Maybe the mainstream will focus more on solo artists but the underground is a different beast. I think we want to see a bigger sound and togetherness. Bands have fallen out of favour to an extent but next year will change. Passive are a group who have made an impact on their debut single and show they are capable of evolution and change. They will not want to release a load of material next year but they do need to think about an E.P.

The only reason people will see them on the stage is a collection of songs and they will want to hear originals. The guys are testing their material and seeing which songs connect and how they are being received. If the songs, through exposure, get popular and applause then that means there is a demand. The first year or so of their career has been dedicated to getting a couple of tracks out and making sure they perform as much as possible. 2018 has been a successful one for Passive but they know there is a long way to go. I think they are aware of the competition out there and are already making sure they stand out from the pack. I am pumped to see what happens next year and whether they will release more music. I feel there needs to be a few singles and, in terms of gigs, they are starting to get focus in London. It is hard to balance the need for economy but being as visible and hard-working as possible. Given the stiff competition and the mass of new artists coming through, Passive’s 2019 will need to be a mixture of well-timed and important singles and as many gigs as possible. I think they can justify touring further afield than home and London and their social media following suggests they have a wide-ranging fanbase. Radio and online sites have shown them love and there is evidence to suggest the guys can go very far. I like that they are throwing out into the world and I have faith they can be among the bands to watch next year. Make sure you listen to Like This and get involved with the band. I am seeing few bands who have the same combination of sounds and qualities – meaning Passive can really clean up and go a long way. It is still early days and they are taking things steady. What they have achieved already leads me to believe they will be just fine and make a success of things. Their career and life is quite fresh but, on the basis of songs such as Like This; I feel the future of Passive...


IS very encouraging indeed.   


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