Passion Pit is at it again. Gossamer delivers the same shiny beats that we have come to know and love, and yet it still manages to show a maturation in sound. Passion Pit first danced onto the scene in 2008 with their debut EP Chunk of Change, but received the majority of their exposure the following year with their first full-length Manners. With this album, the band brilliantly managed to establish a sound that was really beyond genre classification.
Gossamer’s first single “Take a Walk” rivals the catchiness of former singles like “Sleepyhead” and “The Reeling,” and already shows staying power. That’s one of the best things about Passion Pit: their likability and their longevity, because their songs are so catchy and yet they never get old. This album certainly does not stray from that perfected formula.
While “Take a Walk” is easily one of the biggest standouts of the album, there really is not a single miss on this record. What’s more is that the songs differ so delightfully from one another that you want to listen again and again. “Constant Conversations” is a bit of a slow jam with a smooth beat perfectly backed by female vocals, while “Love Is Greed” is a deceptively upbeat track with lyrics doubting the legitimacy of love.
“Mirrored Sea” combines celestial beats with powerful percussion to create an instant party favorite, much like “I’ll Be Alright” which is one of the best tracks on the album. A plea to a drunken love, “Cry Like a Ghost” has an absolutely infectious chorus and is yet another of the most enjoyable songs of Gossamer.
Showing a true growth in musicianship with this album, these songs may be sparkly and bubbly on the outside but are much more lyrically heavy than one would expect from such seemingly lighthearted dance-pop. “Take a Walk” is a dark story about a father struggling to provide for his family in tough economic times, a message modestly presented in the music video with a ball bouncing from lush suburbia to a stark cityscape. Meanwhile, album closer “Where We Belong” is appropriately backed by lamenting strings, as it deals with frontman Michael Angelakos’ suicide attempt at age 19.
Recently, Angelakos has divulged information about his depression preceding this incident and his struggle with bipolar disorder. Fans of the band are likely familiar with the recent canceling of tour dates, attributing it to Angelakos’ need to “improve his mental health.” Knowing what he has been through, it is of no surprise that being under this kind of a spotlight and having all eyes on him would cause some serious stress. Luckily for fans, this album is everything we could want and more — plenty to hold us over until Angelakos is back in tip-top shape.
Having this knowledge of his battle with bipolar disorder allows us to view the music in a different light. As mentioned, the depth of the lyrics is often unexpected due to the glitzy, synth-soaked, dance-inducing pop sound of the songs. On this album, each track has its mania –its heated, crazy passionate parts– as well as its dark side. Gossamer is an album that really shines in terms of maturation, songwriting, and true staying power.