If there is any one fact that is true when describing the music of Passion Pit, it’s catchy. Since their debut EP dropped in 2008, they have been consistent in dropping enjoyable electronic alternative pop music (if there ever was such a genre). However, when it came to their full first album, 2009’s Manners, only a couple of songs have yet to tarnish. For myself, the songs are fine once, but upon more listenings, it became rather dull. And in all honesty, I could only take so much of singer Michael Angelakos’ voice when he gets into his upper registry.
So where is Passion Pit now in the midst of their upcoming sophomore studio album, Gossamer? Well, the group brings all the fire and energy that their previous releases held, and fixes some major problems they faced. However, I found one major problem while listening that I was not expecting from Passion Pit – and that’s being bored.
The album starts out incredibly strong, delivering the four best songs off the bat. The first two singles, “Take A Walk” and “I’ll Be Alright” are both great in their own ways – the former being a lot more of a march style, while latter being a much more fast paced electro dance songs with some great hooks thrown in the middle of it. They both showcase what Passion Pit can do well, and putting them back-to-back was a great was to start a record. “Carried Away” is a catchy group singalong, with some very impressive keyboarding in the background of everything. The best track on Gossamer, however, was a complete surprise to myself, and that was an electric slow jam known as “Constant Conversations.” The song has such a swagger to it that it seems incredibly fitting for a rapper or R&B artist to take it and remix it. The jam is slow, smooth, and irresistible – one of my favorite slow songs of the year so far.
However, the album takes a nosedive afterwards for me. The next eight songs just never reach the giant heights of what the first four did. Instead, it sounded a little repetitive, contrived, and uninteresting. The last three songs, “Love Is Greed,” “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” and “Where We Belong” did absolutely nothing for me, and should’ve just been left out of the album all together. The nine remaining songs would’ve made this album at least replayable. Instead, it will probably just end up being a one-and-done if I decide to get it on Tuesday (July 25th)
I do have to say this, I was happy to hear vocalist Michael Angelakos drop his registry a bit. Hearing him fight with the high notes of the first album live was not ammusing, but rather annoying. Now that he’s taking it a step lower (a modest step lower, still pretty high), the live performances for the band should sound better. The band themselves sounded great, by the way.
At the end of the day, this album had a lot of potential, but used it all in four places and let the rest of the album suffer. I do highly recommend picking up “Constant Conversations” as a single, as it is easily the most enjoyable song on Gossamer. And fans of theirs shouldn’t be surprised at what they are getting if they want to buy the whole thing. For everyone else, a collection of singles from Gossamer and the rest of their back catalog will do you good.
Final Grade: C+
Go Download: “Constant Conversations”