Album Review- ‘Gossamer’



Reporter and Reporter

Grade: B+

Next time you’re stressed, load this album onto your iPod, lie down on your bed, close your eyes and ease into Passion Pit’s soothing second studio album, “Gossamer.”

As you struggle to understand Passion Pit’s electronically subdued lyrics, dismiss the temptation to find out. Then, when your stress level subsides, look up the lyrics.

You’ll think it’s a joke. There is no correlation between the upbeat, positive beat and the cynical, nerve-wracking lyrics.

“A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine gone down,” said Passion Pit mastermind Michael Angelakos in an interview with “That’s exactly what Passion Pit is to me.”

The medicine being an exploration of his and the world’s common issues, Angelakos said.

Though various tracks focus on the issue of love (“Love is Greed”), Passion Pit seems to believe people aren’t entirely focused on unstable romances. The first track of the album (“Take A Walk”) gets political. It’s a reaction to debt in a recession; a family who made poor financial decisions: “Honey, it’s this loan. I think I borrowed just too much. We had taxes. We had bills. We had a lifestyle of fun.”

Passion Pit playfully contradicts itself: the band is cynically hopeful. In “Take A Walk,” the band sings a strikingly different message than that of “Carried Away.” “Take A Walk” basks in the struggle of the financial burden while “Carried Away” pushes a Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff agenda: “Let’s agree there’s no need. No more talk of money.”

Maybe Passion Pit does this to mirror life itself, in an honest-to-God way.

“I (expletive) hate dishonesty,” Angelakos said. “I like artists that are really honest and talk about their lives, because people invest in that as much as they invest in the record itself.”

In “Mirrored Sea,” Passion Pit approaches another scathing, challenging topic: alcoholism. It’s relentless – “His passion for the drink, it was the central part. He could look good in the light and look bad in the dark” — yet hopeful — “Good men are scarce and few. But always passing through.”

The tracks on Gossamer are poetry. They’re an examination of the human soul; overflowing with metaphors and imagery; for instance in “Constant Conversations:” “Well, you’re wrapped up in a blanket and you’re staring at the floor. The conversation’s moderated by the noisy streets below.” The same in “Cry Like A Ghost:” “Sylvia, right back where you came from. You’re a pendulum, heartbroken and numb.”

With vivid descriptive devices and artsy modifiers, Passion Pit hones in on lyrical perfection — lyrics you can be sure will be copied and pasted onto hormonal teenagers’ Facebook walls and Twitter feeds.

“I’m really obsessed with perfect songwriting craftsmanship,” Angelakos said. “I don’t think a lot of people in music today care about that.”

Passion Pit is a gateway drug into the indie world. What might at first sound like a broken SNES transforms into an emotionally complex, honest piece of art. It’s amazing what can happen you give a new sound a try.