“Hey…Is your CD broken or something? I thought you just got it today.” remarked my brother as I sat at the head of my bed, entranced the newest Passion Pit album.
Now, just a day later, the CD is tucked into his stereo system, the lyrics pulled and spread out on top of his bed.
Yes. This new album is just that good.
The synthesizer isn’t an unfamiliar instrument to the non-musical public. However, in today’s musical arena where radios blast clumsily-assembled, heavily auto-tuned pieces that sound exactly the same as the next song and the one after that, it is hard to find artists that handle the synthesizer as skillfully as Passion Pit does. Accompanied by his high-pitched, distinctly indie voice (which you’re just going to have to get over, by the way), Angelakos brings to the synthpop front a fresh and innovative approach that catches you unguarded, and leaves you feeling something between slightly violated and pleasantly overwhelmed.
As the title may suggest, Gossamer, in tune, takes on a brighter—maybe even a little lighter—mood than Passion Pit’s previous albums. Without regard to the lyrics, this album could easily be mistaken for the soundtrack of the happiest life ever. However, subjects that are touched upon in this album, which include alcoholism and mental illness, are not as light. It is actually no big surprise—Angelakos himself has been struggling with bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and relationship problems. In effect, the whole album is an autobiographical paradox, alluding to the instability and fragility of the gossamer that is the artist’s own life.
But that is exactly what is so deliciously heartbreaking about this album: How can something as happy be so full of misery at the same time? It’s like reading Poe’s poetry to One Direction tunes and eating cookies with spinach juice; it’s not supposed to work. Yet strangely, it does.
What is more is that Angelakos tells his stories with such simple beauty that it wrenches your very heart strings:
“Yeah some people been hurting me
You can tell by a look
By the slightest crook
In their neck or the blink of an eye”
—By no means the prettiest lines from Constant Conversations
While his music may be digital, there is just something so tangibly natural and unprocessed about Passion Pit that is especially evident in this album—a sort of soul diary through verse and song. And though his album may be upsettingly ironic, I can’t help but wonder if it was done on purpose, in hopes of delivering happiness to others even though it may not be his right now.
Track Recommendations: Take a Walk, Constant Conversations, Cry Like a Ghost