Back in 2009 when Passion Pit released their first album, they were a group that I certainly saw the appeal of, but nonetheless couldn’t help but feel a certain amount of reservations towards. Armed with an unending supply of catchy synth riffs and sing-along vocals that were always aiming for the rafters, they seemed a little more preoccupied with getting everybody to dance than making anything resembling art, and for that I liked ’em but never loved ’em. In the three years since Manners, Passion Pit has certainly gotten huger commercially, but a lot of the band’s notoriety as of late has come from the mental health issues of frontman Michael Angelakos, but with that turmoil has come a certain amount of emotional depth to Passion Pit’s predominantly sugary sound.
The album starts with “Take A Walk”, a song that seems to have become Gossamer‘s big hit so far, mostly thanks to its monster synth riff. However, the song’s a bit of a misnomer, as it feels more like a track from their first album and doesn’t really reflect the bittersweet nature of Gossamer. And bittersweet I think is probably a pretty good way of describing the album, since even though it seems that a lot of critics have talked about the more insular and emotionally messy nature of Gossamer, I think a lot of that is just people reading too much into Angelakos’ personal life. Because honestly a lot of this album is filled with much of the same wide-eyed grandeur that has made Passion Pit such an irresistable slice of electro-infused pop-rock, only this time there’s a tad more doubt and heartbreak thrown into the mix.
And I guess those songs that unabashedly go for that huge pop sound mixed with a dash of meloncholy are the ones that I’ve gravitated towards the most. “On My Way” is probably the track I’ve grown to like the most for that reason, as well as “Love Is Greed”, whose title and lyrics are about as self-obsessed as the melodies are lovely. It’s definitely an album where some songs utilize this approach better than others, which makes it hard for me to continue to look at these guys as more than just a “singles band”, but either way Gossamer proves that Passion Pit are a band that still deserves the success they’ve had, if not the baggage that comes with it.
Favorite Tracks: “I’ll Be Alright”, “On My Way”, “Love Is Greed”