Passion Pit are the indie electro-pop outfit that skyrocketed past expectations with their danceable, delicious 2009 debut, Manners. Three years later, the band’s sophomore effort is called Gossamer, which really, couldn’t be more fitting. “Gossamer” means something that is light, thin, fresh; you imagine delicate fabric blowing about in a gust of soft wind. Gossamer (the album) definitely evokes this sense of lightness, but with a catch; behind a thinly veiled exterior, not all is as it seems.
This is the concept behind Passion Pit’s excellent second LP: heaviness contrasted against levity. Because, this is music after all, right? This isn’t a 1,000 page Russian novel, or a three-and-a-half hour film from which people leave the theatre going what the fuck? In music, we’ll take meaning, but we’ll have it on the rocks with a slice of lime on the side, thank you very much. On Gossamer, you get that Passion Pit aren’t trying to make just another party album, but it’s an album you can dance to, as well.
Like a modern day Odysseus, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos leads the listener through an epic journey through life: all of its joy, pain, suffering, and whatever. On Gossamer, much of his outlook is bleak, but it’s veiled in a gorgeous symphony of experimental sounds, twinkling, tinkering, bouncy beats, and melodic waves of warmth that travel at warp-speed. The beats are always weighty, but the synths are as light as air. If this is pain, then pain is good.
Things kick off with first single “Take a Walk,” which touches upon the perils of unrelenting ambition and the not-so-dreamy effects of the American Dream. Angelakos may be singing about making bad investments, overdrawing on his accounts, and disappointing his wife and children, but the track most definitely has the stompiest chorus this side of “Take Me Out.” “I’ll Be Alright” continues the wild journey that the band started three years ago on “Sleepyhead,” but while that track made you want to dig deep into a dirty, low-down beat, “I’ll Be Alright” is a lightning-fast, exploding firework of sounds. The chaos eventually channels into graceful order– zooming in and out, in and out– to create THE song of the summer.
The album’s influences are as varied as its sounds; Gossamer never stays put in one place for long. “Cry Like a Ghost” has a buzzy, boozy dance floor vibe, and “Carried Away” is like a shiny new toy from the 80s, radiating joy as you unwrap it for the first time on Christmas morning. “Constant Conversations” is pure, sexy R&B, as Angelakos’s voice drips out like honey, “I never wanna hurt you, baby.”
“It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” and “Where We Belong” close out Gossamer’s all-too appealing case with an extra dose of emotionality. On the former, nostalgia oozes out of every line, which you’ll appreciate if “your past lingers like rain clouds casting shadows below.” People have been noting that the choruses on the album have been of the ridonkulous-ly good nature, but the one on “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” is especially sweet, featuring a lead-in of “I used to glow-glow-glow-glow-glow/Once I had a love to show.” Basically, what you need to know is that every song on Gossamer glows; it’s an unusually impressive, poignant sophomore release that will leave you shimmering with delight.
4 / 5 bars
Passion Pit – “Cry Like A Ghost”
Passion Pit – “On My Way”