First Listen: Passion Pit's 'Gossamer'
Gossamer is a perfect title for Passion Pit's new record. The long-awaited follow-up to its breakthrough album, 2009's Manners, finds the band spinning shimmering silk from many intricately layered threads: airy synths, warm bass, crisp snares, crashing cymbals, singer Michael Angelakos' expressive falsetto. Each song positively glows.
(Ed. Note: Angelakos announced on the band's website on Monday that Passion Pit will be cancelling the balance of its July dates so that he can "take the time to work on improving my mental health." The cancellations include the band's stop at New York's Apollo Theater on July 23).
Grace and delicacy encompass only part of Gossamer's appeal — at times, the record is bombastic, even brutal. "I'll Be Alright" opens with bass blasting, synths slashing and cymbals exploding in a wash of digital clipping, while snippets of baby-voiced cooing mimic the infectious melody Angelakos is about to introduce. It's daring, powerful and impressively nuanced.
Gossamer stands out for its depth and richness; its variety of textures. In "Cry Like a Ghost," chiseled, sampled squeals cut sharply through whirring keys and fuzzy low-end before opening up into a spectral, synthesized chorus. In "Constant Conversations," the band juxtaposes soft harmonies and concrete kicks to give the slow jam an R&B-style sway.
Gossamer vacillates like a torrid romance: Every moment is touch and go, on and off, quiet as a whisper and then loud as a yell. Angelakos' lyrics suggest a love life filled with ups and downs. "Cry Like a Ghost," for example, finds him remembering a relationship trapped in a vicious cycle: "Sylvia / Right back where you came from you're a pendulum / Heartbroken and numb." But he doesn't wallow in the sadness: Gossamer is pure catharsis. It's all about strength, moving forward, forgetting — and giving life to the party even as it doles out condolences to the lonely. - Austin Cooper
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