Passion Pit have made a pop lp. Pop like Rhianna, like this is going to chart. With so many tight pop tracks side by side you’re going to like something at some point. It’s like wandering through a mall, it’s like shopping. Very pleasant in the right company. What’s not to like about tracks like Carried Away or Mirrored Sea? This album is truly full of singles, the kind of 1980s type singles that can be listened to as mini operas or background muzak.
It feels hysterical, and sometimes it delights me in the way only Van Halen can. Steely stomper Take a Walk is glossy, plastic, sweet confection. You have to admire main man Micheal Angelakos’ ability to grapple with the issue of immediacy. These tracks have the tactile quality of rain, you can feel them bouncing off your skin. The Brian Wilson-like I’m on my way is maybe a clue to where this record sits in his mind. As a demonstration of alchemical prowess, of the ability to manipulate the popular, a fuck you to the goons and jocks who unknowingly will buy your music.
Layering vocals narrows the expressivity of your voice, another cause of our lacking engagement with the songs. Maybe it’s a desire to transcend himself by obliterating that kind of detail, fair enough given his recent interviews. The drive to create can be to smother the ticks that dog your day to day life.
So we get the intention. But still we find we just can’t love this album. All the stylised sonic references to RnB or DnB (like the chipmunk samples on Ill be alright) lack a darker context to truly shine as they did on the junglist pirate cassettes we treasure from 1992. This album seems to grow like wild flowers in some decayed cultural zone post 89, but ultimately it’s sails just TOO close to Maroon 5 to keep us onside. It has a cold, cold heart. And we admit it, we’re just not hardcore enough to go there.