Passion Pit – Gossamer (Columbia)
August 13, 2012 by Daniel Gill
The next title by electro-pop group Passion Pit was going to be largely anticipated, we all knew this. After all the 2009 summer LP Manners was a bit of a stunner, it was gorgeous on the ears with delightful melodies and ridiculously catchy hooks. Manners was an album which screamed summertime, it could have been a Disney cheese-fest but the musical craft and production that band had in constructing the album was pretty much faultless. It grabbed their nearest rivals MGMT by their floppy hair and kicked them back to Paris where they continue to ‘fuck with the stars’ unnoticed. We all expected another large glass of sunshine juice with follow up Gossamer, However it all just feels there’s been more dark clouds then clear skies for the band since there arrival a couple of years ago.
For those that didn’t know, lead singer Michael Angelakous halted the groups quick return as he himself needed to regroup. The front-man had mental health issues that nearly cost him his relationship and most importantly his sanity. These issues are plastered over Gossamer and the entire album is an ode to the troubles and anguish Angelakous felt over the past two years, there’s clues in the song titles; titles like ‘I’ll Be Alright’, ‘Cry Like A Ghost’ and ‘Two Veils To Hide My Face’ only just slightly touch upon the type of journey the lead singer has been through. It gets deeper when you listen to the lyrics.
It’s the lyrics that really drive this album from start to finish, the melodies and happy-go-lucky harmonies seem to have been pulled to the back seat so Angelakous can really vent. What’s interesting is the fact that his voice and lyrical content is far clearer on Gossamer then it was on Manners. During Manners you had to look the lyrics up on a website if you wanted to sing a long to them (that or just do that thing where you think you know them but in truth you’re singing complete rubbish). Gossamer’s lyrics are so clear that you can hear every heart breaking line and the deep lonesome tone in his voice.
Listening through Gossamer you get the notion that Passion Pits music contradicts Angelakous’s lyrics. It feels like there are two separate entities on show here, either that or the band or just backing Angelakous’s torrid stories as this occasionally feels like a solo album. You get too wrapped in the imagery and emotions the front-man spews out that you partly forget about the marvellous production the band has on this album. There may not be crowd pleaser’s like ‘Moths Wings’ or ‘Sleepyhead’ but there is no doubt that Passion Pits song construction has grown in these past years. Album opener ‘Take A Walk’ is a fine example of this, it still contains that signature Passion Pit sound with the twinkling opening and surging synths but the tone feels more maturer and less candy coated. The bands shiny electro-pop armour has a rougher texture to it now, the songs have a more weathered and journeyed experience to them.
It’s hard to really judge an album when it feels like it contains two different aspects. Gossamer could of went two ways, it could have been that type of pre fabricated emotion that you hear in the charts or it could have been that true emotion that you feel from a songwriter when he really touches on something special, thankfully for Passion Pit it was the latter. Angelakous could lose old fans with the way he has approached this album but at the end of the day, I don’t think he cares. This was all about letting demons escape and emptying his mind. He put his heart and his sanity on the line while writing this. That’s the signature of a musician, not a pop-star.