Passion Pit's "Gossamer"
- Article by: Jon O'Brien
- Posted: 07/18/2012
The brainchild of frontman Michael Angelakos, Massachusetts quintet Passion Pit arrived at the tail end of the ‘00s with an effervescent cosmic pop sound that instantly drew comparisons with the likes of Yeasayer and MGMT.
But beneath the falsetto harmonies, swirling synths and indie-disco beats lay a lyrical bleakness which was at complete odds with the hedonistic themes of their counterparts.
Co-produced with Chris Zane, second album, Gossamer, is arguably even more deceptively gloomy. Conceived during a turbulent period which saw Angelakos battle writer’s block, alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder, its 12 autobiographical tracks are achingly honest but are wrapped up in such a euphoric manner that it’s understandable why the band have become a student party favourite.
The grandiose indie-pop of “Hideaway” features a chorus so joyously gleeful it could have been lifted straight from McKinley High, but is in fact, an adaptation of a speech once given to Angelakos by a nurse. Opener “Take A Walk” surrounds its politically-charged lyrics with fairground-style organs and sing-along melodies, while “On My Way” sees him pouring his heart out to a girlfriend with “All these demons, I can beat ‘em,” against an ELO-does-musical-theatre backdrop.
However, it’s not all business as usual. The slinky R&B beats and sultry backing vocals (courtesy of Swedish a cappella trio Erato) of “Constant Conversations” echo the late-night slow jams of the ‘90s, while closer “Where We Belong,” is a slow-burning melancholic affair worthy of gracing the finale of a sci-fi blockbuster.
It remains to be seen how many listeners will actually pay attention to its confessional tales, but whether you’re after purely an exuberant pop record or something with a little more substance, Gossamer works on both levels.