We don't know what happened exactly to Michael Angelakos over the past few years, but listening to “Gossamer”, there's no doubt the poor guy has experienced more than one night without shuteye in the name of love. In a bad way, that is. This is an album of 'neither with you nor without you', of mornings of unconditional passion and others of tears, feeling like an abandoned dog. The creative soul of one of the most eccentric synth-pop projects in recent times is more vulnerable than ever. Until he decides to explain what drove him to write these songs, we'll keep speculating about his present marital status. But when it comes to the music, the new effort by the band from Massachusetts puts a step forward by adding a good dose of epic to the sound they already explored on “Manners” (Frenchkiss, 2009), which caused such a stir among thousands of people, positive and negative (what with all the debate about the Chipmunk vocals on “Cry Like A Ghost” and all).
Their songs are still shrapnel for the ears, make no mistake about it. However, there are also moments when horror vacui rules; the songs get tangled up in hundreds of tracks which, far from being unravelled by Chris Zane (who already worked with them on their first full-length) in the studio, have instead been kept intact. Accordingly, at times, the result in an overwhelming overdose of overproduced stimuli, which is hard to like at first. A good example is “Mirrored Sea”, which would have sounded much better with a bit of self-control and less nervousness.
Aural hyperactivity aside, few records could start better. The trident formed by “Take A Walk” (one of the tracks of the year), “I’ll Be Alright” (what would happen if Rustie would take charge of the band, with two Red Bulls too many in his gut) and “Carried Away” (a colourful fantasy in the vein of Hot Chip) is a pure adrenaline shot directly into your veins. Passion Pit kick off with three of their best songs, sure-fire hits both on stage and in the charts. After that, they tone it down a bit with some oddball R&B (“Constant Conversations”, of which the vocals will likely be emulated by How To Dress Well sooner rather than later), friendly “Glee”-like sarcasm (“Love Is Greed”), and projected melodrama, with an ultra-inflated beat, for the hungry masses (“Hideaway”). “Gossamer” is a frenzy, a new melodic pop delirium, and more evidence that the Americans want to rule the stadiums of this world. And they can, no matter how annoying they are to some.