Review Summary: A jelly-filled electronic pastry of an album that oozes so many slick hooks that it's probably not suitable for human consumption... but can you resist?
Sometimes things can be just too
cute. A warehouse full of kittens is bad investment because the kittens will love on each other and make more
kittens which will in turn send your cat litter bills through the roof. In slightly more applicable terms, some pastries that are good on first bite turn out to be a lot of trouble when they overload your sensory systems with their sugary artillery of taste. What I'm getting at, in completely non-metaphoric terms, is that, musically, some things are just too darn cute
to be taken seriously and some albums are too darn cheesy/happy/peppy to listen to entirely in one sitting. Passion Pit's Manners
happens to be one of those albums; every song has a catchy hook and a "nifty" synth line and nearly every song works brilliantly on it's own (perhaps spliced into a playlist full of other artists) but as a whole, the record is tiresome.
That being said, the singular songs on Manners
are irresistible. Nostalgic synth riffs and bombastic beats parade around the invasively catchy 'Little Secrets' while vocalist Michael Angelakos effeminately yelps the songs lead hook ("Let this be our little secret
") over a cutesy children's choir ("Higher and higher and higher!"
) 'Moth's Wings' and 'The Reeling' work in a similar manner with their glitchy percussion and fuzzy synthwork and represent electronic-indie-pop at it's finest. It's however notable that the group struggles heftily with the concept of dynamic and variation (both things that would've made Manners
more interesting) and it's obvious: the few times the band changes things up stylistically, it comes off as either obnoxiously annoying ('Sleepyhead') and enormously cheesy ('Folds in Your Hands'). It's also notable that Angelakos has such a high voice that he makes Geddy Lee sound like Frank Sinatra and, quite frankly, it gets annoying quickly. He wails, moans and yowls throughout the entire album which - when paired with his less-than-comprehensible lyrics ("My beard grew down to the floor and out the doors of your eyes
") - amounts to more than half of the album's tiring moniker.
All in all, Manners
is simply too much. It is overwhelming in it's failure to be varied and in it's faux-stylish indie-credibility, it gets unnecessary. However, when Passion Pit hit the right spots (before they overwelcomed the stay on the album), they hit them hard. Taking into consideration that Manners
is also the band's first full-length album, it's easy to forget it's shortcomings and look forward to the future -- which is exactly what I suggest you do. Until then, just hold your tongue and wait.