There were times on Passion Pit’s first album, Manners, where they took the easy route showing how wild they could get by mashing every keyboard glitch, jumpy bass riff and Michael Angelakos’ high-pitched wail together. It was too much. Everything became fucked beyond recognition. On their sophomore album, Gossamer, they try to lose control in a controlled way, and it works much better. They’re not restraining themselves, they’ve just been thinking more about every part of their songs, and you can clearly hear it in Angelakos’ lyrics, which confront alcoholism, depression and marriage.
The opener, ‘Take a Walk’, sounds nervous and doubtful, something you would never expect from Passion Pit’s previous work. Angelakos sings about his family and needing to calm down, an introduction to an introspective album. After the unstable start, they quickly regain their confidence but maintain the thoughtful attitude. ‘I’ll Be Alright’ has everything that their past popular single ‘Sleepyhead’ had, chirpy vocal samples, an easy to sing chorus, lovely breaks and ecstatic explosions, but the lyrics revolve around being left behind and coping with the loss. It’s a juxtaposition that appears throughout Gossamer, exemplifying the two ways to listen to Passion Pit. You can see them as a pop band, or as a pop band that you have to actually listen to.
While some tracks follow the quickly formed conventions of Passion Pit songs, they tread new ground with a couple. ‘Carried Away’ sounds like it was written for Gladys Knight & the Pips in the 80’s, complete with crystallised keyboard effects and wonderful harmonies that could easily have a trio of snappily dressed backing singers dancing along to. ‘It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy’ deconstructs everything and simplifies their sound and leaves Angelakos’ to sing with only a few dressings supporting him. It’s fragile, but not nervous like ‘Take a Walk’. Passion Pit can’t help but be bold.
Rejected Obvious Review Title: A passionate album from Passion Pit.