Finally hearing from Passion Pit this year comes as a relief, as the wait from 2009’s Manners had us growing impatient.
With that being said, a follow-up to Manners was highly anticipated, whatever it could bring. New content was exciting, and it held up quite nicely under the microscope of critics’ expectations. Though obviously not flawless, Gossamer is a hit record. The energy from both albums leading up to it clearly propelled the right energy to move forward in the right direction.
As the saying goes, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is what the band stuck with entirely in the process of their new album. The way Chunk Of Change and Manners jived with a certain demographic, whether broad or precise, and this was not to be messed with. Gossamer’s concept was Passion Pit’s only way of challenging themselves, since no landscape could’ve been drawn twice in the same way. Some evolution and precision is encouraged, too.
Exhibit A, here, is lead song “Take a Walk.” Its heavy, pulsating beat and happy-go-lucky synth hook bring together indie gold and pop indulgence, drive its likeability factor through the roof and create a very inviting energy for the start of an album. Even the words contain real wisdom, talking of a broader perspective that challenges narrow-mindedness. It’s both fun and inspiring, which is a difficult combination to master.
What gets lost in the middle is, well, the stuff in the middle. Certain songs stick out while others fall in the cracks and don’t get noticed. The strong stay closest to memory but the less pronounced are overlooked. “Cry Like A Ghost” is somewhat soulful meanwhile imaginative. Classic Passion Pit is brought to life in “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” with chanting and harmonized vocals. These are great, but other unmentionables are left to dust.
Gossamer, though conceptually on point, trades the plentiful odd high-pitched noises heard in previous “Sleepyhead” for a more melodic tone. Though the makeup of each song is still incredibly individualistic and true to the band’s sound, the band took advantage of their growth as songwriters and placed more focus in the content, leaving behind part of the general awe that draws outsiders to their music.
It’s really cool to listen to the broken down point of view of the band, too, where this “Constant Conversations” chooses to whisper instead of holler, finding harmonies in the background to accompany the melancholy bliss. For seemingly the first time, Passion Pit found beauty in their breakdown. It sounded unbelievable, knowing that their hit song “Sleepyhead” was nearly yelling when played at a normal volume. And who said a mastering of this slower sound wasn’t possible?
With each conglomerate that makes up a single song, there are traces of a plethora of genres within each electro-pop disco track we hear. Slower “Constant Conversations” borrows from a R&B beat with more soulful sounds carrying the background while more hard-rocking songs give way to alternative influences. Never knowing what will come next is part of the appeal for a real fan of this band, and Gossamer never lets up in revealing a surprise at the round of a corner.
Passion Pit - Gossamer tracklist:
- “Take a Walk”
- “I’ll Be Alright”
- “Carried Away”
- “Constant Conversations”
- “Mirrored Sea”
- “Cry Like a Ghost”
- “On My Way”
- “Two Veils to Hide My Face”
- “Love Is Greed”
- “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”
- “Where We Belong”