Passion Pit: Gossamer

Passion Pit’s follow-up to debut Manners is the band going bigger, more self-indulgent, but this only serves frontman Michael Angelakos’ pop acumen better. Take lead single ‘Constant Conversations’ for example, Michael appropriates the sort of over the top R. Kelly slow jam – which should be a genre on its own, really – and turns it into something 17-year-old entry level white music fans could accept without going “ugh, this isn’t real music,” in a vaguely racist tone. It helps that Michael hits the high notes par excellence, so that 17-year-old entry level ethnic minority music fans could accept it without going “ugh, this guy lacks soul,” in a vaguely racist tone.

Opener ‘Take a Walk’ is unabashedly foot-stomping fun with elegant harmonium chords and flashy xylophones, and the chorus is just begging to be performed at a festival. Passion Pit goes similarly big elsewhere on the album too, ‘Mirrored Sea’ and ‘Carried Away’ are made for both music festivals and dancefloors, which ever has the bigger subwoofers.

Gossamer also showcases a more confident Michael Angelakos, whose falsettos on Manners were nigh cartoonish in its chirpiness. Here, there’s clarity and warm lower range instead, something only glimpsed on the previous record. The psychedelic electro of ‘Where We Belong’ is a highlight of both his vocal capabilities and the band’s brand of vintage-addled synth pop.

Topically, Gossamer is solid as well. The aforementioned track has Michael wrestling with existence as he tried to grasp God but found solace in humanity instead. On other songs, he sings of failed relationships, depression, and even alcoholism – surprising considering how chirpy the band’s sound is. It might be slightly off-putting, but there’s catharsis in radiant pop, and to those who can relate, Gossamer has a warm placebo effect.

LISTEN TO: ‘Take a Walk’, ‘Constant Conversations’, ‘Where We Belong’
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