Passion Pit - Gossamer
There are only a few bands that I giddily anticipate releasing new material. Similar to the excitement at discovering what the toy is in my kinder egg, I struggle to contain my inner fanboy at the sniff of some more brain juice to go in my ears. Passion Pit are indeed one of these bands. Chunk of Change in 2008 and Manners in 2009 were part of my go to club, albums that I would automatically stick on when I reached my laptop. This could cause bias in either direction for this review, as my expectations will be higher than normal, but quicker to defend lapses. Hopefully these will counterbalance each other, otherwise this could come across with similar emotions to that of a pre-pubescent One Direction fan.
But on with show. Lead singer Michael Angelakos was quoted earlier in the year, saying that 'Gossamer' was going to be a "really fantastic, exciting, beautiful, gorgeous record," and he isn't too wide of the mark. There is a definite shift in the pace this time around; Whereas Manners was full of pop anthems designed for club nights and festival stages, Gossamer revels closer to Chunk of Change, with an orgy of heartfelt music, from the stripped down 'Constant Conversations' to the electronic 'Cry Like A Ghost', it's an album more appropriate to train journeys and late night wind downs. There are still glimmers of pop nuggets hidden within, with album opener and lead single 'Take A Walk' leading the charge, and 'I'll Be Alright' and 'Carried Away' following closely behind.
In essence, it's a good record. No major reinventions, but different enough in places so that it doesn't just sound like leftover cuttings from the Manners sessions. They have seemingly taken the safe route from album number two territory, and I suppose that is the main criticism to be had. It's difficult to know whether I'm disappointed or not. It ticks most of the boxes and will probably find itself listened to plenty of times over the coming years, but when 2012 is reflected upon, it's hard to imagine Gossamer sitting pretty at the top of any lists, instead being used to pad out by those who prefer to be more comprehensive in their list making. It's comfortable and enjoyable rather than challenging and seductive, doing what it intended to, what was expected of it, but nothing more.
There's plenty of the usual Passion Pit to be had, sometimes tinkering with the formula, but all too often delving into the familiar, with an sprinkles of 90s keyboards in the mix to play it safe. Like Kaiser Chiefs needed to ditch the Na Na Nas, they have at least tried the Oh Oh Ohs appearing on every other track and tried and come up with something different to layer their songs. An assuring return from the Massachusetts boys, but as with so many other bands, it will be interesting to see where they go from here.