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Passion Pit Fails To Shine On "Gossamer"

Matthew Gumport |
July 23, 2012 | 12:23 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


The band's second album release fails to recapture the magic of "Manners." (via Wikimedia)
The band's second album release fails to recapture the magic of "Manners." (via Wikimedia)
The electro-pop scene has been exploding over the past few years. Hot Chip is coming off of their highest-rated albums, bands like Cults, Cut Copy, and Sleigh Bells are blowing up on tour, and M83 is finally receiving major radio play.  

What once seemed like a niche genre has grown to command major-label respect with groups party-rocking their way to success by bastardizing the material once doomed to a forlorn corner of the record store.

Passion Pit, one of the few groups to bridge the divide between the two audiences, have never been known to stray from the standard tropes of the genre: lots of "whoahs," and "ohs," with a trend towards more treble bouncing than bass dropping.  

Their first single, "Sleepyhead," received enough play in advertisements to confuse the hipster group for Moby. The group did nothing to shy from the major success spawned originally as a Valentine's Day gift, embarking on successful tours that included gigs with Muse and at the Glastonbury Festival.  

"Gossamer" seems to be another album built in this tradition.

While one could hardly blame the band for trying to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle that was "Sleepyhead," in "Take A Walk," the lead single from the album, they don't stop there."Love Is Greed," and "On My Way," both try the same thing.  

Beyond a shiny coat of production gloss and a stomp for a beat, nothing redeeming exists in these shells of lazy rhyming and boring material.

The back of the album does nothing different than the front. "Where We Belong" is probably the most gag inducing track, with such inspiring lines as "Who says that God exists? / We can't see icons or myths / But I believe in you / Do you believe in me too?"  

I never thought that I'd see the day when indie bands were looking to Kylie Minogue for inspiration, but it doesn't pay off; a song that induces literal eye-rolls on the first listen is rare, but Passion Pit seem to have mastered the art.

"Cry Like A Ghost," the one exception to the rest of the album's offendingly boring and predictable nature, manages to shine as a diamond in the rough.  The over-produced hook pays off, hitting just the right balance of pop-glamour while letting you rock out to it, that place it in unoffending territory. It hits the sweet spot between fun pop hit and overwrought wannabe party blaster, a harmony the rest of the album is sorely missing.

The album barely works; it shines as a piece of escapism, desperately trying to make that sweet summer night last forever with gleaming pop and sheer joy, as long as you can avoid looking at it for too long to see the spreading cracks in the veneer. It works well enough, but plenty of albums work much better.

Reach Matthew Gumport here.



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