Artist: Passion Pit
Record Label: Columbia
Putting out a new album should be a thrilling and fulfilling experience but it seems a dark cloud has been cast over Passion Pit’s sophomore record Gossamer. As the album is set to drop imminently, head honcho Michael Angelakos has cancelled a number of shows across the USA due to mental health issues. Before this worrying news became apparent it would be easy to view the electro wizard’s new album as another fizzing pop record built on effervescent synths and quirky vocal samples that sound like cute woodland creatures being propelled onto a bouncy castle. These factors are still present and Gossamer is a natural evolution for Angelakos’ project, however it’s when you delve deeper into the lyrics you discover that under the surface lurks some darker tones.
‘Constant Conversations’ is a bit of cringeworthy r ‘n’ b indebted slowjam but a proportion of its lyrics shed some light on Angelakos’ state of mind; “I’m just a mess with a name and a price/and now I’m drunker than before/ they told me drinking doesn’t make me nice” portrays our protagonist battling some inner demons. Equally on opening track and lead single ‘Take A Walk’ the talisman reflects “I remind myself that times could be much worse” which sound like the words of man sighed in the tones of defeat more than a proclamation of defiance.
It’s a shame to judge Gossamer on the recent events in Angelakos’ personal life, as on the whole it’s a solid album and a great follow on from Manners. There are a clutch of tracks that don’t quite hit the mark but these are few and fair between. As a progression on from Angelakos’ debut, the frontman has softened his unique chipmunk falsetto, there are times when the squeak surfaces but there is a deeper vocal range across his second offering which doesn’t sound like he has been struck in his misters! To compliment this new vocal dexterity, strings make a welcome appearance which adds a certain warmth and texture that enhance the ever-morphing landscape of synths and electronics, not to mention the introduction of brass which flutters through ‘On My Way’.
Time will tell as to whether this is Angelakos’ breakdown album but ultimately Gossamer is a record to be savored and enjoyed on many different levels. Here is to a speedy recovery Michael.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams