Passion Pit's sophomore album, GOSSAMER, won't let fans down. In fact, this album is in many ways, better than its predecessor, MANNERS. It's a more consistent record, and in GOSSAMER, Passion Pit isn't afraid to reach for pop-status or radio-friendly alternative. Even though the production of GOSSAMER has been shrouded with stories about Michael Angelakos' mental health issues (a link will be provided in the comments of this review to those that are interested), the album rarely seems troubled. Fans of the band will be excited to find that the band has expanded its songwriting craft: the emotions are more present here, the choruses bigger, and the production more streamlined. Passion Pit's second album is pretty accessible, but it only grows better with repeated listens.
The album begins with its propulsive lead single, "Take a Walk." It's a socially-conscious and introspective song, but what it carries in thematic heft (it's probably the only song I've ever heard on the radio to talk about foreclosures and pension funds), it also provides in enduring melody. The band's refrain during the chorus ("take a walk, take a walk.") aren't just echos of the lead vocals -- they're meant as instructions/reminders to the public at large. The album slows for "Constant Conversations," which serves as a pretty divisive track; the spacey R&B is complimented by the Swedish acapella group Erato. The song serves not only as a departure in terms of tone and rhythm, but also one of style. The next song, "Mirrored Sea" brings GOSSAMER back into Passion Pit's wheelhouse - it's a track with a soaring, atmospheric chorus that sticks with listeners long after it's over. Following up "Mirrored Sea" is "Cry Like a Ghost," another slower song, but its groove carries the song much better than "Constant Conversations." "Two Veils to Hide My Face" is an acapella arrangement that is pretty, but short (33 seconds) - it feels less like a song and more like an introduction to "Love is Greed." The closing "Where We Belong" begins drenched in fluttering synthesizers and ends in a cathartic refrain. It's a beautiful closer to the album.
Because many of these songs are layered with a glossy production, it takes repeated listens to pick up on all of the nuance that exist in each of these tracks. Fans of M83, Grouplove, or The Naked and Famous ought to love GOSSAMER. Fans of the band's MANNERS should definitely check on this release, but if you've never even heard of the band, this album is still a great place to start listening. Standout songs to sample/download: "Take A Walk," "Mirrored Sea," and "I'll Be Alright."
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