Sunday, 29 July 2012

Gossamer


It's been three years since Passion Pit released their debut album, Manners. The album won the young and obscure Boston-based band widespread acclaim from underground and mainstream music constituents alike. Three years later the group's immensely-anticipated sophomore album, "Gossamer", has been released. Along with news of the album's release has come equally widely circulated revelations about frontman Michael Angelakos and his struggles with bi-polar disorder, alcoholism, all whilst trying to make an album in the midst of chaotic commendation and expectation of what a new Passion Pit album would be. A recent feature by Pitchfork explored these topics and brought the recent events to public light. Gossamer is essentially journey through the last few years of Angelakos's life. It is confused, dejected, hopeful, introspective, and is, admittedly, inconsistent throughout. However, it is an exceptional album.

Many would probably argue that they have come a long way from the Passion Pit who wrote Manners. The Passion Pit who wrote a song called Let Your Love Grow Tall and whose debut album heavily featured the PS22 children's choir. I would argue that the change in this album is entirely in accordance with the change in the band's situation, and might not be as great as it might first appear. After all, the new album still includes fast paced, danceable beats and catchy pop hooks. Angelakos's helium-inhalingly-high vocal range is still present. The high pitch oscillating synth makes appearances, notably on "Constant Conversions". However, it is also clear that Passion Pit have shown another side of their character with the new album and have extended into unexplored stylistic territory. Lyrically, the album is much darker than Manners. Those who took the time to listen to the jagged words under the cheery musical landscape will have noticed that Manners was not the cheeriest of albums either. Even in "Let Your Love Grow Tall" Angelakos's idea of love growing "Tall as the grass in the meadow" quickly turns to the the paranoid and frantic:

Like the darkness in the forest?

Like my frightened worried eyes?
Or the roots in the soil?
Are skies telling lies?

In Gossamer Angelakos manages to keep remarkably honest while achieving what I can only call lyrical brilliance. The lyrical subjects are largely Angelakos reflecting on his relationships with other and how he views human interaction. On "Carried Away" he musingly admits:

Listen, I don't really know you
And I don't think I want toBut I think I can fake it if you canLet's agree there's no need, no more talk of moneyLet's just keep pretending to be friends

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