Staff Thoughts: Passion Pit – Gossamer [Album]
Many of our writers share similar taste in music. Because of this, there is sometimes a desire expressed by multiple writers to cover the same piece. And just as friends disagree over the quality of new music, so too does our staff. Staff Thoughts is a feature designed to accommodate these differences, and present a more rounded review for you, the reader.
Passion Pit, one of my personal favorite bands, has finally graced us with their newest album Gossamer. It has been over 3 years since the first release of Manners, and many fans have been desperately waiting for a new release from the band. Well, here it is folks! With the release just around the corner, the band has given us the opportunity to hear the album in its entirety via NPR. After countless play-throughs, I have absorbed enough to present my view on the record.
I will start off by saying that Manners was one of my all-time favorite albums. With that said, I went into this album with high expectations: it didn’t help that they released “Take A Walk” as a single and further made me long for the album. I guess I can say that the suspense was killing me and now that the album has channeled through my canals, I’m glad it didn’t.
At first listen, I wasn’t pleased with the album. My expectations were just way too high. The high energy of Manners just couldn’t be matched, in my opinion. To me, it didn’t sound like the fun-loving, “Sleepyhead” Passion Pit I came to love. After digging in the sand for a couple listens, I discovered that Gossamer is a gem. The Passion Pit we love is still there, and they have come with something new and different, and it is just wonderful.
“Take A Walk,” one of the singles from the album, still remains one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s catchy, it’s quality Passion Pit (more details can be found here.) After watching the visuals for “Take A Walk,” the question is begged: what drugs the band takes for them to think its normal for a ball to bounce around the world? Also, balls don’t take walks guys, and they don’t defy gravity by bouncing into the sky. Even if balls did that, I don’t think they would do so on a throw that wimpy. Still, the video is some innocent fun and warrants a giggle or two.
“I’ll Be Alright,” the second single from the album sounds a lot like the Passion Pit we knew on Manners. The tempo is fast, the melody is catchy, and the track is just all around fun. The drum spats are on point and are some of the bands best riffs to date. Michael Angelakos‘ voice shines through excellently and meaningfully. As for the music video for this track, it was left for the fans to create it. Kudos to Greg Barth, the winner of the competition, for creating the weirdest thing I have ever seen. You might want to get yourself checked out, because surely you are not alright. Creative, yes, but definitely disturbed.
“Carried Away,” didn’t hit me as a stand out the first couple listens, however, it’s definitely grown on me. For reasons I don’t understand, the infamous relationship in Cast Away between Tom Hanks and Wilson pops into my head– the overall theme of friendship reminding me of the awkward dynamic between a lonely man and his unused volleyball.
“Constant Conversations” was just too simple and too r&b for my taste, leaving me dissatisfied. “Mirrored Sea,” the following track, fixes everything though. The track has a free flowing current that moves on an unset path, moving in and out of different melodies leaving us with a very creative, and completely unique track.
“On My Way” is the story of Christiana and Angelakos, who are having trouble with their relationship, but willing to fight the demons together as a team. The story told by the lyrics and the flawless execution could bring a man to tears. “On My Way” is simply beautiful.
“Love Is Greed” starts off as if it is about to take us on a trip to Disney Land to visit the Snow White in a magical forest. The track quickly changes its course into something cool and innovative that is scarcely seen in the industry. Mr. Disney would be honored to feature this song in one of his early films.
It took me awhile to get used to Gossamer. At first I wasn’t being fair to the guys behind it all, comparing the album to the nonstop energy of Manners. I failed to understand that Gossamer is its own album and should be viewed separately. Once I saw the error in my ways, Gossamer won my heart. Kudos to Passion Pit for bringing the goods yet again. You can pick up Gossamer July 24th on iTunes, and I definitely recommend the purchase. Until then, you can enjoy the album on NPR here.
“I’ll Be Alright” Music Video by Greg Barth
Since the release of their highly acclaimed debut album, Manners, the Cambridge-based, indie pop band Passion Pit has been relatively quiet. This has changed, though, with their second album, Gossamer, which was made available on NPR July 15th.
This album has received extensive hype and has huge expectations to live up to–being the follow up, that is, to an album as praised as 2009’s Manners. Thankfully, Passion Pit has delivered another perfect album that long time fans such as myself will love as much, if not more than its freshman counterpart.
The album opens with the first single “Take A Walk,” which was released May 8th. The highly energetic and immensely catchy song is the ideal opener for an album like this. It starts with a melodic, atmospheric opening that quickly grows into a steady, drum-based beat that remains consistent the rest of the track. The drum beat sets the tone for the synth and guitar melodies that are combined to perfection.
Following “Take A Walk,” is the even more lively “I’ll Be Alright” (Which was just announced to be included in EA Sports Fifa 13). This song begins with a chaotic and eccentric mess of a beat; combining upbeat synthesizer tones with a thumping drum rhythm and goofy, high-pitched laughing. The beat relaxes only slightly when the verses come in, which are fast-paced and lively in themselves. Angelakos perfectly aligns his voice with the feeling of the song, making “I’ll Be Alright” an obvious standout track on the album.
The third tack, “Carried Away,” is a personal favorite of mine. This one, unlike the first two, is more low-key and melodic, with a synth hook that you can’t help but love. The track features Swedish trio Erato, who provides lucrative backing vocals that act as the icing on what is surely a luxurious wedding cake of a track. The song is ironic in a dark way, lyrically. The deceivingly pure-natured, feel-good lyrics can be interpreted in a rather dark way, especially in light of recent events with lead singer and predominant lyricist and producer Michael Angelakos. If you are unaware of what I am referring to, Angelakos has had a rough summer, spending time at a New York State mental hospital and having to cancel six tour dates.
“Constant Conversations” is hands down the most unexpected track on the album. It is unlike anything we have heard or would expect to hear from Passion Pit. This song is reminiscent of a 1990’s R Kelly neo-soul, pop production–and it is amazing. The song, while odd for the band, is a perfect R’n’B style song that will have you hooked instantly. It stands out for its uniqueness and despite being out of character for the band, it is certainly a perfect song in its own way.
With “Mirrored Sea,” we are back to the basic Passion Pit. No surprises with this track; it is typical but brilliant. For big fans of the electro-indie-pop genre, this will be an instant favorite. It sounds exactly like what you would expect from the likes of Passion Pit. The track, in a way, is the biggest showcase of growth by the band. While there are other songs on the album that feel boundary-pushing in nature, “Mirrored Sea” shows that the group can do exactly what they did on Manners, but in a much grander fashion.
Next we have “Cry Like A Ghost.” This song has an edgy percussion laced with a thudding, distorted hammer-like bass, wrapped in impeccably chosen back-up vocals, and all tied together with a sensational melody. This song truly showcases Angelakos’ ability to create magical melodies.
“On My Way” is unlike the opening tracks, in that it doesn’t start with an energetic beat, but soulful, elegant vocals that are only supported by a piano and light percussion in the background. It slowly builds towards a more elaborate beat in a very subtle and alluring way as it progresses to the chorus. Then it dips back down again and repeats in a similar fashion. This one is a softer, more peacefully spirited Passion Pit song that can be enjoyed just as much as the kinetic openers.
Following is “Hideaway.” The bridge has a synth melody similar to that of MGMT. This one doesn’t stand out but is a solid track.
“Love is Greed” is a dark love song that deceives you by its unbelievably upbeat and catchy beat. The lyrics chime, “Love, love, love, love is just greed/ It’s selfish and mean/ It follows all you lead/If we really love ourselves, How can you love somebody else?” Still, the dark undertone doesn’t take away from the fluttering synthetic-driven backing that is pure ear candy.
“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” is the second to last track and it could certainly be one of the best. This ballad will have you head over heels, but it may take a few listens to do so. The track starts off at almost a standstill but transforms over time into a very beautiful set of instrumentation. Plus, Angelakos’ vocals are easily some of the best on the entire album.
The final track is “Where We Belong.” This one is purely fascinating with its cold beat and longing vocals, yet all the while maintaining a worrisome feel. The song tells the tale of Angelakos’ battle with depression and his suicide attempt at age 19. The track, combined with his recent bout with depression, leaves the listener hoping that he can once again overcome his demons. The haunting lyrics beautifully sing the tragic tale from the first lines “It’s gotten cold in here / But a solemn warmth draws near” to its final verse, echoing, “It’s hard to keep on living when your heart weighs about a million pounds.”
Overall, you couldn’t ask for a better follow-up to the group’s debut studio album, Manners. This album is essentially flawless, combining classic Passion Pit with new elements that depict the bands growth as a unit. Gossamer has tracks that can easily fit on the perfect party playlist as well as the perfect one for cruising around in your car on a sunny day.
The Album drops this Tuesday, July 24th, and it may be one of 2012′s best.
“Take A Walk” Music Video