A few months ago, I was bored of my entire music collection. There was nothing on the radio that I had to have. So I texted my most “underground” friend (the girl who wears cat-eye glasses, fishnets, combat boots, and sports an asymmetrical pink hair-do) begging for a recommendation. Seconds later, I received the following: “Passion Pit!!!” I loaded up iTunes, typed the band name into the search field, and listened to thirty second blips of one, two, three songs before buying the entirety of their sophomore album, Manners. “Thanks” I texted my friend, “This is exactly what I wanted.” She assured me that they were also awesome live; unfortunately, DC isn’t on their tour schedule anytime soon.
I’ll admit that my first ten seconds of listening to Passion Pit were skeptical moments: “Shrieking sissy whiners with a synthesizer,” I thought. But I was willing to hear them out, and was rewarded. I began to hear lead singer Michael Angelakos’s voice as an instrument, and less as a performance in and of itself–I doubt anyone really listens to Passion Pit for the vocals.
That’s not to say that the lyrics are not good. They are–Passion Pit’s lyrics are compelling, poetic, thoughtful. High/low imagery, religious references, natural elements, and the contrast between inner life and the real world pop up in nearly every song. Manners is very much a twentysomething album. It conveys a sense of yearning and isolation, but a vein of hope keeps the tracks from becoming messages of gloom. Pitchfork.com calls their music “… Extroverted, brash, and unconcerned with nuance, each synthesizer used for maximum melodic impact instead of texture,” to which I say: “Meanie-heaa–aaa–aaa-ad.”
In all seriousness, I more or less agree with Pitchfork.com’s conclusion. I think that Passion Pit’s aggressive melodies and perhaps over-eager use of a choir achieves a unifying effect. Being a twentysomething can be isolating, but we’re not alone.
In addition to “Sleepyhead,” I recommend:
the addictive “higher and higher” refrain.
“Put down your sword and crown/ come lay with me on the ground.”
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