Passion Pit’s earliest roots stretch back to 2007, when frontman Michael Angelakos produced a Valentines mixtape of songs for his girlfriend. The recording, Chunk of Change EP, turned into some low-key live performances with the vocalist singing alongside his laptop. Later, at the behest of his friends, this turned into a full band that sang at several well-known Boston venues. Passion Pit’s success came quickly. Keyboardist/guitarist Ian Hultquist sums it up: “It was actually really scary how fast things were rising for us, even though it was on a small scale … When Jeff and Nate [bassist and drummer] joined, it really started feeling like a band … everything just felt complete.”
The origin of the group’s name stems from a piece in Variety magazine that dubbed drive-in movie theatres “passion pits” because of “their privacy and romantic allure for teenagers.” The aforementioned vibe is felt strongly across Passion Pit’s newest release, Gossamer, especially through the duration of tracks like “Constant Conversations,” where Angelakos’s rhythmic crooning is backed up by layers of lofty harmony and a chorus of whoa-oh-ohs. “I’ll Be Alright” offers the quintessential wall of synthesized pop that the band has come to be known for, while “Take a Walk” and “Hideaway” sound summer-festival-ready. The choruses in “Cry Like a Ghost” are drawn-out and have a distinct shoe-gaze feel to them.
Lyrically, Gossamer is potent, heavy and personal, but it’s easy to turn your mind away from the stories and get lost in all the synth-heavy layers. The songs explore issues ranging from alcoholism to self-worth and mental illness. They provide a narrative for being lost in an overly-stimulated society. “Love Is Greed” put me in a pensive state with the lines “love is just greed / it’s selfish and it’s mean / you follow or you lead.” Angelakos talked about love in a post-release interview, saying “On a literal level, love does not make sense, but that’s what makes it love.”
If Chunk of Change audibly resembled an atmospheric ode to a girl and the band’s sophomore release, Manners, sounded like the product of a young, ever-restless mind, then Gossamer presents itself as an introspective hook-laden masterpiece. This record is grown-up yet youthful, methodical yet chaotic. The quintet was able to distill much of its brilliantly upbeat attitude into this recording which went on to peak at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart and #4 on ANDY’s top 10 list.
By: Lucas Canzona