24
Jul
2012
Passion Pit: Gossamer
Gossamer
Darren
Bottom Line: If you liked their debut Manners, you'll probably like their sophomore album, though Manners is a better introduction to the band.

Gossamer

When Passion Pit's full-length debut Manners came out in 2009, I admit that I kind of overlooked it completely and only really got into it last year. I was starting to get into more electronic-oriented music, and the track "Little Secrets" got me hooked with its over the top synthesizer and dance beat. The rest of Manners didn't sound too much like this single, but was diverse enough to have a strong majority of solid tracks that were all distinct from one another with a few fillers. Passion Pit had created their "style" of singer Michael Angelakos belting falsetto (and generally fairly depressive) lyrics over catchy electro-pop beats.

On first listen, one may notice that sophomore effort Gossamer doesn't stray too far from this sound. The falsetto isn't as omnipresent and there's no crazy synthesizer jam like "Little Secrets" (much to my dismay), but for the most part it's 12 relatively high-energy electro-pop songs with Angelakos's trademark falsetto.

Gossamer opens with the single "Take A Walk," a tale of immigration and economic hardship over a simple bass drum beat with a catchy synthesizer melody at the chorus. It's a solid track and sticks out due to its lack of falsetto, and is a decent way to open an album (though it's no "Make Light"). The energy then kicks up for the album's second single "I'll Be Alright," which returns to the falsetto and catchy beats of Manners to the point that it's hard to notice the not-so-happy lyrics such as "I'm so self-loathing that it's hard for me to see reality from what I dream." The energy remains high for "Carried Away," with a very catchy layered chorus and might be the most like "Little Secrets" on the album.
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Things slow down for "Constant Conversations," which features a high-pitch vocal sample that would make it reminiscent of "Sleepyhead" from Manners, but actually sounds like it could be an R&B track if you took away Angelakos's vocals. While I like the track, it's followed by "Mirrored Sea," which is enough like "I'll Be Alright" and "Carried Away" to make it seem slightly out of place. "Cry Like A Ghost" features another distorted vocal sample and a droning bass beat, yet fits in well with the album with its contrasting lyrics about alcoholism amidst a fairly uptempo melody.
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The album then goes into the ambitious "On My Way" but slumps a little with "Hideaway," which I just don't find too memorable, before going into the a cappella "Two Veils to Hide My Face," a 34 second long track that Gossamer could really do without. However, things pick up again for "Love Is Greed," which is a fairly deceptive song that sounds over-the-top happy and sugary until you notice the cynical lyrics. The closers "It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy," and "Where We Belong" are both solid and dynamic tracks that go between calm and chaotic, and feel like a good way to send the album off.
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While Gossamer did not blow me away at first listen and doesn't exceed the bar set by Manners, it does not disappoint either. Many of its tracks are comparable to those found on the debut, and Passion Pit's style is really solidified with this album. Arguably, the tracks can get a little blended together at times if you listen to both at once, and at times they can feel slightly formulaic. However, this album really grows with repeated listens, and many songs really start to stand out. All in all, while not groundbreaking, it's a fairly solid sophomore album.

Grade: A-
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