Sunday, November 18, 2012

Passion Pit: Gossamer (2012)


(Columbia)

The best this self-consciously intricate, tightly composed pop record gets is on its enormously timely opening cut, "Take a Walk," which shows actual grit in its anthemic treatment of popularly familiar class-oriented money troubles and growing up in a shadow of self-hatred -- a truly alive flaunting of demons. It's a stark, sad celebration of something troubled. But these graduates are more interested in the piling on of bravura sound-and-sludge stunts, most blatant on the extremely annoying "I'll Be Alright" but manifesting all through the wafer-thin, top-of-lungs power pop of the remainder. It's not disagreeable, really, but it's a lot of work to get through it -- and it's all the same after a while, coming off more as a social experiment than a loose and fun record.

Michael Angelakos probably wants people to be happy, to enjoy themselves, but the Brian Wilson soul-cracking needed to provide such smooth, straight-line soullessness of the body of the record is audible in every calculated second. Pick any one of the songs past track one to take with you and you get the whole idea, everything Passion Pit has to offer you right now. I choose "Carried Away," I like its hook and respond to its emotional heft, but even it isn't a spot on "Take a Walk," the wisdom and high fever of which shows much potential -- so of course it's the one they licensed out to a taco commercial.

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