In the lead up to Passion Pit’s sophomore release, Gossamer, much has been made about band leader Michael Angelakos’ mental state. Cancelled tour dates, stays in mental hospitals, addiction, talk of suicide and a bi-polar condition have all been discussed in various interviews. The seriousness of those issues are all explored in the lyrics which is in stark contrast to the giddy rush of the music contained on this album.
Working with co-producer Chris Zane and engineer Alex Aldi over the course of several months, Angelakos’ crafted the follow-up to the very popular debut release, Manners by writing all the songs and playing virtually all the instruments himself. The result is a very synthesized pop record. Tracks such as “I Take a Walk” and “I’ll be Alright” are sure to excite festival crowds while “Carried Away” sounds tailor made to soundtrack an iPod commercial.
Gossamer does not slow down until “Constant Conversations” which sounds like Dirty Projectors if they were produced by the Weeknd. The song features lyrics about drinking too much which is a theme also explored in “Cry Like a Ghost” where the singer makes the confession, “and yes I drank all those drinks on my own, my life’s become some blurry little quest”. As much as those tracks are highlights, Angelakos may have saved the best for the second half of the album. “On My Way” is a dead ringer for mid 90s period Mercury Rev and the confused romantic ponderings of “Love is Greed” have an anthemic quality as does “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy” when it declares, “don’t call me crazy, I’m happy!”
A close approximation to Gossamer may be Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreaks. The main difference being that Kanye’s similar warts and all introspection is set over brooding synth lines which easily show the contemplative tone whereas Angelakos’ helium voice and production sheen belies the seriousness of the lyrics. So much of Gossamer sounds of the moment that it’s easy to not pay closer attention to what the album is actually saying. But once the rain washes away the pop candy castles, what remains is the concrete lyrics that hold these sugar walls together.
Review also found at UMFM.com