Sheerly, You Can’t Be Serious

Jul 25, 2012 by

 

Just last week, lead singer and leading creative force behind Passion Pit, Michael Angelakos, announced the band would be cancelling all of their July shows, one week away from the release of the band’s third album, Gossamer. Angelakos cited he was checking into a rehab facility in Upstate New York to confront his mental health issues. Also last week, Pitchfork released an interview with Angelakos, revealing a troubled front man publicly and honestly-if also somewhat dispassionately-confronting his repeated psychiatric troubles, and providing context for the abrupt and unexpected tour adjustments.  Angelakos openly discusses his depression growing up (he was diagnosed as bipolar at 18; he’s currently 25), frequent check-ins to mental health clinics, and reflects on his condition with unnerving proclamations like, “creativity leads to suicide.” It’s a very serious article, contrasting the band’s joyful, ready-to-dance music; in fear of downplaying the serious topics, it’s a juxtaposition that yields mixed results. For all that’s exposed, there’s something amiss because neither the songs nor the ideas produced come across fully baked; leaving Gossamer to feel as slight and indistinct as the title suggests. There are a few bright spots, though, and below are my track-by-track reviews

Take A Walk: The lead single and first track kicks Gossamer off with a bang; it’s a high the album never reaches again in its 12 tracks.  About an immigrant man trying to provide for his family during a recession, this song rocks, plain and simple, and is the album’s best effort in blending a serious narrative with a buoyant, foot-tapping beat. Like Adele’s Chasing Pavements, Take A Walk further suggests the healing, transformative powers of a good stroll.

I’ll Be Alright: Kinetic and reminiscent of something from Chunk of Change. The chorus never fully takes off, but the dolphin-like “uh-oh’s”, punctuated throughout, add a great deal of fun to the song. This song deserves to be heard live, where I’m sure Passion Pit’s exuberant performances will transform this into a gleeful delight and fan favorite.

Carried Away: The heavy synth and singsong beat is very catchy, but sounds incomplete and bereft of any thrills, which will soon become indicative of the entire album.

Constant Conversations: The most ridiculous song on Gossamer, if not throughout Passion Pit’s entire career; it signifies the sharp cliff dive the album takes from here on out. An odd blend of 90’s R&B and the typical Passion Pit aesthetic that sounds closer to Ben Fold’s take on Bitches Aint Shit (which is to say a joke), than anything resembling a successful fusion of two disparate genres.

Mirrored Sea: Almost painful to listen to. Passion Pit does Crystal Castles- like synth. Imagine pixels screeching in agony instead of grooving to life.

Cry Like A Ghost: Sounds like a b-track, eons away from completion.

On My Way: Angelakos falsetto gets a work out, and to decent results.

Hideaway: A jumbled mess of a song.

Two Veils To Hide My Face: This isn’t a song, but an a cappella short. What it’s doing? I have no idea…

Love is Greed; It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy; Where We Belong: At this point in the album, there’s no distinguishing one track from the next and is worth restarting just to hear Take A Walk again and wait for Passion Pit’s fourth album release.

Yes, it gets ugly towards the end and Gossamer winds up being a huge disappointment, never delivering on the band’s previous successes or fulfilling the promise of its opening two tracks. The craftsmanship feels rote here; the joy of creating music gone. This is not an offensively bad album, but rather a nearly inconsequential one too flimsy to sustain its lofty themes and the listeners’ interest.

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5 Comments

  1. nate

    Hilarious review…great job and read

  2. Yeagerbomb

    Tragic. Passion pit is great. It’s all about moth’s wings/sleepyhead/little secrets/eyes as candles. Take a walk definitely the best off Gossamer. Too bad about Angelakos.

  3. Wes Money

    This album’s really grown on me. It doesn’t have the newness or highs of the last album but I think it is more consistent

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