Gossamer by Passion Pit
The New England natives who made the indie world want to have a dance party with their 2009 debut album, “Manners,” are back, and they have built on the foundation they began with 2008’s EP “Chunk of Change.” Layer upon layer of synthesizers and frontman Michael Angelakos’s falsetto are the cornerstones for just about any record by this band, and “Gossamer” is no exception. Yet these factors are the reason Passion Pit’s dark and troubled lyrics weren’t taken seriously in “Manners”: they were often lost in the hypnotic melodies of the sugary synths.
But in “Gossamer,” the themes are evident. Instead of dwelling on the depressing topics of everyday life, Passion Pit reminds us that everything will be all right one day.
To begin “Gossamer,” Angelakos gives the listener an account of his own family’s financial troubles with “Take a Walk.” The easy-to-follow, energetic track leads up to the bombastic, sample-heavy second track “I’ll Be Alright.”
“Constant Conversations” comes in at a perfect time to slow things down. Here, Angelakos takes a new route in how he uses his voice: he sings in a falsetto similar to R&B legend Curtis Mayfield. The synths whammying their way through pitches, a great sing-a-long of “oh’s” in the chorus, and a stuttering sample throughout make this my favorite track on the album.
Passion Pit’s formula – sugary pop music with dark lyrics – works really well on most tracks, and their immersive sound makes anyone want to dance, but some tracks feel redundant or repetitive. One example is “Carried Away.” The bright synth pop is too basic and overdone to lead the track, since there is little backing it up. The chorus doesn’t feel like anything special, and the emotion is truly lacking.
This release is the perfect music for a world that is going through a recession. The band hopes to change the views of millions of people going through difficult financial times, alcoholism, unemployment, and mental illness by showing these things to be a normal part of today’s society. Treating people’s troubles as typical instead of hiding them is important to the band, and Angelakos has allowed his psychiatric treatment for bipolar disorder to be publicized for this reason. Relating to the dark side of things and giving an optimistic outlook is what pop music is about, and that’s what makes this a fantastic pop album.