Passion Pit
Gossamer


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
July 20th, 2012 | 226 replies | 28,078 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Passion Pit find their heart.

For Michael Angelakos, the darkness has always been served cloaked in an overwhelming halo of light, the kind that doesn’t illuminate but blinds with a sort of stabbing beauty. He began Passion Pit as a sort of apology to a girlfriend tired of all his self-defeating bull***, and hid all of the subversive musings of Manners behind layers of synths and his own falsetto, pitched so high as to obliterate any easy meaning. Manners was a fun, wispy listen, a batch of sugary synth confectionary and tie-dye festival sing-a-longs, but whether “Sleepyhead” was a song about the despair of heartbreak or a colossally bad trip, it remained a pretty dark tune, major chords and that irresistible hook be damned. I find it hard to believe that Gossamer isn’t a tongue-in-cheek reply to all those who dismissed Passion Pit as another MGMT-of-the-month back in 2009, very enjoyable sure but oh so painfully thin. Gossamer is airy like cotton candy from the summer fair and delicate like an overgrown web at a lakeside cabin, but for the first time there’s a substance to all the exceedingly fine, vibrant textures on display here, something that gives but doesn’t break.

That underlying discord that has always been at the heart of everything Passion Pit have done is still here, well drenched in the sunniest pop this side of fun., yet where Manners obfuscated everything, Gossamer navigates a precise path through some seriously shaky emotional terrain. It leaves little open to interpretation even as the layers and tracks pile on and on in glorious Technicolor. Most of the credit has to go to Angelakos, never one to shy away from his own feelings and still situated high and crystalline in the mix but now more assured and more conventional, lending a depth and clarity to his lyrics that had been absent for far too long. His moods are uneasy and unpredictable, as quick to declare that he’s ready to get back on track and quicker still to indulge in therapeutic melodrama. “Take A Walk” is most likely the catchiest song ever written about fiscal irresponsibility in the current debt crisis, told with a straight face and all the more desperate for it. The best thing here, the white-boy R&B of “Constant Conversations,” is one of several songs that takes an unflinching look at Angelakos’ alcohol problem: “Now you’re standing in the kitchen, and you’re pouring out my drink / well there’s a very obvious difference, and it’s that one of us can think / if there’s a bump in the road yeah you fix it, but for me I’ll just run off the road.” It’s intense, personal stuff, at times waxing dangerously close to self-pity, yet it juxtaposes sharply and effectively with the auditory ebullience that threatens to swallow it up but never does. Given how successful Passion Pit are in making Gossamer sound absolutely massive, this is no small victory.

Passion Pit had already taken the electro-pop craze to its logical conclusion, sounds built to fill an arena and a veritable army of neon-lit effects and endless multi-tracking pushing against the speakers en route to a bigger, better payoff down onto the next chorus. Gossamer, however, will leave you wondering how Manners can now sound so tiny. That trademark Passion Pit sound – the warped vocals, that frenzied stroke of a drum solo, effects dropping in and out like a goddamn musical Whack-a-Mole, fast four-on-the-floor bubbling underneath a Millennium Falcon-sized engine of synths – is in fine form here, no better than on prototypical tune “I’m Alright.” As Gossamer glides on, however, Passion Pit expand on what they’ve mastered – that unique brand of energetic dance-pop combining the best traits of straightforward pop music with the eye-dilating euphoria of rave music – by amping up everything: the choruses, the emotion, the enormous hooks.

There’s a sequence of songs here, beginning with “Cry Like A Ghost’s” anguished “Sylvia” refrain all the way through to the soaring, dreamlike chorus of “Love Is Greed,” where you think this is it: here is the peak where the band cannot just go any higher. They are cresting onto some brilliant hill where everything is kaleidoscopes and keyboards and over-saturated colors and oh-my-god crippling neurosis has never sounded this good and it’s almost too damn much. But everything, Angelakos’ fey vocals and that outsized production, all one hundred and twenty tracks of it, sounds so wonderfully pure that it’s hard not to get swept up with them all. And then, of course, they go higher.

Gossamer is huge, bombastic, and all over the place, spraying synths and outsized choruses like confetti over some deranged future-pop festival. Gossamer is also remarkably personal, pockmarked with Angelakos’ unmistakable sentiments, the nasty demons and the sympathetic dreams. It’s an unusual paradox that has become Passion Pit’s singular advantage, finally bringing those ignored lyrics level with their sunburnt melodic instincts and turning all those ugly human qualities into something to be celebrated. It’s pop music in its purest form, totally unhindered and perhaps a bit outrageous, devoid of any self-conscious irony, just simply: listen to my story, and sing along.



Recent reviews by this author
First Aid Kit Stay GoldLily Allen Sheezus
Woods With Light And With LoveEels The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Tokyo Police Club ForcefieldThe War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
user ratings (343)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Bigger and brighter...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
July 20th 2012



15168 Comments


Yes Rudy! Can't stop listening to this.

Review is top-notch.

Acanthus
July 20th 2012



9535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, have a few remixed tracks from the album and their quite fun.

Digging: Die Sektor - Applied Structure In A Void

tombits
July 20th 2012



3469 Comments


ewwww passion pit sux

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



10249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah man

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



10249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this destroys manners fo sho

conradtao
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



2088 Comments


Now I'm intrigued. I wasn't and now I am.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



10249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

did you like manners conrad? i liked it but it wasn't like a favorite of mine or anything, just liked a lot of the hooks. i also saw them live at coachella a couple years back and remember angelakos being absolutely terrible vocally. he sounds a lot better here

conradtao
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



2088 Comments


I liked it okay. I mean, I never warmed up to his voice, but The Reeling, Make Light, Moth's Wings, and Little Secrets are all strong pop songs..

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



10249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah same. i imagine you would dig this because the hooks are absolutely massive at points and he sounds much more at ease not just the constant falsetto

YoYoMancuso
July 20th 2012



10817 Comments


excellent review Rudy

deepintheorchard
July 20th 2012



644 Comments


Great review. You make this album sound so good.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

U r the man rudy. Hate passion pit but will check out.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice rudy

this album totally surprised me. 2 years ago, i would've never guessed that they could write a song like 'constant conversations'.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and did anyone else read the cover story on pitchfork about the lead singer? crazy stuff

conradtao
Emeritus
July 20th 2012



2088 Comments


Just heard "Constant Conversations" and I'm already sold. Holy shit, that is one fantastic song.

Gyromania
July 20th 2012



15168 Comments


"Constant Conversations" is my favourite from this.

Kiran: I read it. It was a short novel lol. Great read though.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not sure i'd like this but excellent review

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Holy shit that first paragraph.

I'm really excited to hear this one. :D lovely review, Rudy.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Fugue
July 20th 2012



7352 Comments


This rules, so hard. Better than Manners imo although I know a lot of people who disagree.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish my friends talked about Passion Pit with me.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy