After their breakthrough 2009 release, Manners, acclaimed indie-popsters, Passion Pit are back for another round of frantic electro-goodness. The Massachussetts quintet first caught nationwide attention after their first EP, Chunk of Change, which had been solely designed to woo lead singer Michael Angelakos’ then-girlfriend, but then acquired “breakout band” status with their subsequent debut LP, Manners. The disc, which included hits like “The Reeling” as well as the uber-catchy anthem, “Sleepyhead” made a name for the group and their music was soon being used in advertisements, TV shows, and feature-length movies.
With Gossamer, Passion Pit ups the ante, as well as the frenetic pace, for a twelve-song follow-up album that does not disappoint. Angelakos, who has struggled with bipolar disorder and alcoholism since his teen years, cleverly masks his angst and darker subject material with synthy pop explosions and seizure-inducing beats. His promise to fans, to work on his own mental health shows itself in the lyrics subtly, as he moves through his doubts and disturbing feelings to those centered more on hope and healing.
“Take a Walk,” the first tune as well as the album’s first single, is the perfect blend of beat-driven pop and music with a message. Angelakos sings of the life of an immigrant and the problems of everyday life, reminding himself that “things could be worse” and how to move on from there. He then reassures the listener in “I’ll Be Alright,” accompanied by the most dizzying rhythm of chopped and skewed goodness.
The tunes of Gossamer vary from the bold brazen pop of Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT, to the dreamy synth vibe of School of Seven Bells. “Constant Conversations” slows it down to an old-school R&B beat for a love song of sorts, complete with Angelakos’ unique falsetto. Another standout is the tune dedicated to his fiancee, where he assures her as well, “Just believe in me Kristina. All these demons I can beat ‘em.” It’s a very hopeful anthem with singalong “whoa-oh oh’s” and is one of the most creative tracks on the disc.
Hinting at how epic in scope the band can go, “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” is another one to take note of. I can see this one being an arena rocker for them, and it wouldn’t seem out of place on modern rock radio right now. One of the more fascinating songs lyrically is “Love is Greed,” which starts out with pretty harmonies and a more M83 sound. On the track, Angelakos contemplates people’s motivations for loving others. He argues that it just a “selfish little greed” and points out the inconsistencies with what it seems to have become in our world, despite its intentions.
The middle of the disc provides the listener with some of the darker material, such as “Mirrored Sea” and “Cry Like A Ghost,” both boasting 80’s style beats and some interesting lyrics to wrestle with. With Gossamer, Passion Pit show off their brittle personality, but back it up with much deeper lyrics and a dance-ready back beat.
Try This Track: “On My Way”