Passion Pit’s electropop and choral styling may sound like they belong in an iPhone commercial – this is because they were featured in a Rhapsody iPhone app commercial, as well as, dozens of other TV ads and episodes. You’ve undoubtedly heard them, even if you haven’t heard of them.
Their third album, Gossamer, is set for release July 24th and just a cursory listen reveals it is more carefully constructed than their previous album, Manners. The band has shaken off their youthful awkwardness while maintaining their inventiveness.
Here is a rundown of the three (officially) released Gossamer tracks:
“I’ll Be Alright” is reminiscent of the band’s earlier break-up song, “I’m Reeling.” Unfortunately, lead singer Michael Angelakos’ high-pitched voice soars into helium in the final wails of the chorus, right when it should either go more forceful or break with emotion. The result is Angelakos sounds like a whiney child rather than a jilted lover. Even the once catchy techno beats suddenly seem cartoony.
“Constant Conversations,”on the other hand, is a revelation. Here, Angelakos’ falsetto finally drops the façade. His voice envelopes you and glides seamlessly with the soulful (and unfortunately unidentified) sample voice. Interestingly, where Pitchfork's glowing review of the song somehow overlooked the very thing that makes it so appealing, YouTube user meowmixupinhere manages to sum it up – eloquently, and concisely: "this is some quality baby makin music."
Passion Pit delivers their ‘baby makin’ music’ in a cotton-candy cloud. The kind of cloud that, for an entire three minutes and fifty-five seconds, miraculously manages to not evaporates or rain cavities. I felt suddenly deflated when it ended.
But the album’s real summer hit is easily the catchy, “Take a Walk.” Passion Pit is known for their inventive music videos and the one for “Take a Walk”, made with Creators Project, does not disappoint. With the help of helicam technology the camera appears to take on the perception of a ball thrown by Angelakos. The ball bounces beatifically over Philadelphia – suburbs, streets, parks – as the synths bounce from angelic to almost anthemic.
The video’s detachment and the uplifting melody belie the seriousness of the lyrics, which are about a family in financial crisis. There is none of the band’s previous self-indulgence here. The lyrics paint a very specific portrait of an immigrant and his wife who, “Before we marry, save my money/Brought my dear wife over/Now I want to bring my family state side.” Besides for a mention of “the Wart of Socialists” the song focuses on the personal rather than the political. By the end the man insists he is ”… no criminal/ I'm down on both bad ends/ I'm just too much a coward/ To admit when I'm in need.”
Regardless of where it will land on the charts it is definitely the song of Summer 2012.