| POSTED BY: JOE PUGLISI
Gossamer is Passion Pit's most promising and robust release to date. Michael Angelakos has proven that his brain has an impressive cache of catchy, unique melodies to sprinkle with his trademark electronic sauce, instead of relying on the gimmick for the flavor. Once you skirt past the gummy, mass appeal of opener "Take A Walk" -- with its oh-so-timely financial-crisis minded lyrics -- the world of Passion Pit opens up into something epic and viscous. "Take A Walk" almost feels like a soft opening for the true album. Gossamer is an infinitely compounding sonic journey -- audible fractal art, full of sounds built for your WinAmp visualizer as much as your heart-parts. From the fast and loud riff of "I'll Be Alright" to the vocally focused hymnal of the thirty-second "Two Veils To Hide My Face," snappy beauty continually gives way to emotional weight. Standout "Mirrored Sea" is particularly scary in the context of electronic bombardment -- "your waves / their haunting me" is the cry, easy to misappropriate in the metaphorical sea of noise, but when stripped and searched, potent in its honesty.
Certain songs exude optimism -- "Love Is Greed," "Carried Away," and "On My Way" skew triumphant, despite a characteristic twinge of despair lurking throughout the album. Others are overtly darker, like closer "Where We Belong," which deals with a suicide attempt by lead singer Michael Angelakos. But the value of Passion Pit's music isn't in trying to decode the meaning of the editorial voice, rather, in applying and relating the quality of the feelings to our own lives. The best music is as universal as it is specific and honest. Passion Pit keeps the arrangements interesting and the sentiments poetic without alienating a single listener's bouts with the emotional tumble of life, no matter what the severity. It's gripping for everyone, even if they don't know why, exactly.
Take note, it's going to be hard for critical voices to separate the real life demons from the record -- knowing Angelakos is manic depressive and has been repeatedly hospitalized adds a bit of an assumed honesty and intrigue to the songs. But they don't need his anecdotes to shine. The brilliance of the album is transcendent -- songs feel real and emphatic, even without the personal knowledge of the struggles behind them, as sincere art often does.
This is an album that requires repeat spins. Passion Pit's glitzy outer shell begins to crack with each successive listen, and the catchy, cartoony coating chips away to reveal style and substance -- a rare combination in today's musical landscape.
For some original flavor Passion Pit, check out our Central Park concert video.