It has been three long years since Passion Pit‘s stunning debut album – 2009’s Manners. Filled with shimmering synths and Michael Angelakos towering, high-pitched falsetto, Manners easily captured the ears and imagination of listeners, propelling them into a major label deal with Columbia.
So when I initially got the chance to listen to tracks from Passion Pit‘s sophomore follow-up, Gossamer, I was very surprised and very disappointed to hear how different it is from Manners. Yes, Passion Pit‘s distinct electro synth-pop is still present, as is Angelakos’s falsetto. But on my first listen, none of the tracks stood out. The songs aren’t as immediate as the ones from Manners and there aren’t any ear-filling immediate highlights like Sleepyhead or Moth’s Wings.
But then I got the chance to read Pitchfork’s feature article regarding Angelakos’s mental health. Apparently, Angelakos has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which explains the change in direction of the album (as well as the reason why Passion Pit canceled a bunch of tour dates). But it did make me see Gossamer in a different light. And a second listen revealed some treasures among its darkness. Tracks like On My Way and Love Is Greed started to show their hidden beauty.
Yes, Gossamer is not an easy listening experience like Manners. It doesn’t have as many dance-worthy tracks. It is darker and is more of a slow burner. It is no Manners 2.0. However, there is a chance that it just might be better.
Check out the videos for the first two singles of the album – the shiny, bouncy Take A Walk and the reassuring I’ll Be Alright embedded below.
Passion Pit – Gossamer comes out 7/24 via Columbia (order here)