Passion Pit

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Manners (2009) , 6/10
Gossamer (2012), 5/10
Kindred (2015) , 4/10
Tremendous Sea of Love (2017), 5/10

Boston's Passion Pit, fronted by falsetto singer Michael Angelakos, joined the ranks of the dance-pop revival with the EP Chunk Of Change (2008), a love letter to his girlfriend containing I've Got Your Number and Sleepyhead, and with the album Manners (Frenchkiss, 2009), a parade of infectious refrains alternatively reminiscent of the psych-pop the 1990s (Make Light, sung in an annoying falsetto backed by creative vocal harmonies against the robust jangling of the guitar over a slightly irregular march-like drumbeat) and of the danceable synth-pop of the 1980s (notably the exuberant Little Secrets, although hijacked by a convoluted backbeat and a mocking synthesizer, and the fractured Fold In Your Hands), but also creating original blends of the two (the densely arranged, propulsive and swirling The Reeling, the clownish fanfare of Sleepyhead, another multilayered arrangement and his signature song).

Gossamer (Columbia, 2012) was shamelessly littered with filler, mostly packed in the second half. The first half would have been a decent EP, framed by the opposite extremes of the cheerful Abba-esque pop of Carried Away (by far the most memorable song here) and the sophisticated (and sleep-inducing) soul ballad Constant Conversations. The happy Sixties continued to be a major inspiration on this generation, as attested by the marching It's Not My Fault I'm Happy, the frenzied booming bubblegum novelty I'll Be Alright and the catchy Take a Walk in a bombastic form of Merseybeat, although more original ideas show up in Mirrored Sea, a hysterical hybrid of Prince and the Pet Shop Boys.

The highlight of Kindred (2015) is the solemn Lifted Up, basically a rewrite of It's Not My Fault I'm Happy. The album is a good example of the most predictable, derivative, unimaginative dance-pop around in that year.

Michael Angelakos partially redeemed himself on Tremendous Sea of Love (2017) with the stately hymn-like To the Other Side, the ghostly wordless Enigma-like vignette Tremendous Sea of Love and the gentle piano sonata For Sondra with fluttering new-age synth lines . His specialty remains languid pop-soul ballads like Hey K and You Have the Right, basically a rewrite of Constant Conversations, and he seems to stumble by accident on the bombastic drum-machines of the catchy I'm Perfect and the lively syncopated Indian-esque rhythm of Inner Dialogue.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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