‘Nineteen-eighty five was a good year’ sing Passion Pit on the opening track of the new album ‘Kindred’. Is it me, or is there an enormous amount of nostalgia at the moment for the decade that fashion forgot? Well if it’s good enough for Swifty, then it’s good enough for me. The track I’m speaking of is ‘Lifted up (1985).’ It’s the first new material from them since 2012’s ‘Gossamer’. Passion Pit is essentially the project of shaggy-haired, squeaky-voiced Massachusetts based singer, songwriter and multi-instramentalist Michael Angelakos and his live band. I have been a huge fan since first hearing debut single ‘Sleepyhead’ from their debut EP ‘Chunk of change’. Since then they have gained a reputation for being a great live band and have released two fantastic albums. Now comes the difficult third, but can it stand up to previous work?
If you’re looking for an album to break new musical ground and defy genres, then this is probably not the one for you. But if you have enjoyed Passion Pit’s back catalogue and want a new album full quirky and unique pop stylings, then keep reading. This is an album that will no doubt give fans what they have waited three years since the last album for. One of the brilliant things about Passion Pit is their instantly recognisable style. The combination of weird bleeps and falsetto vocals makes songs that you can hear on the radio and instantly know who it is. The other thing is their knack of putting together some of the catchiest songs you’re likely to hear. They get instantly stuck in your head after a couple of plays, whilst still managing to stay cool and credible.
As with previous albums, ‘Kindred’ is essentially made up of upbeat and uplifting songs that make you want to smile. No more so than on recent single ‘Until we can’t (let’s go), which a totally euphoric dance track borrowing its style from those big trance records from the naughties. But in contrast, there are also the more tender moments that Passion Pit do so well. The best example being ‘Dancing on the grave’ which is a swooping atmospheric beast of a track.
There are a few tracks that feature a couple of versions of the same song. ‘Ten feet tall (II)’ is stashed away near the end of the album and is a much bolder and more dramatic version of its poppier big brother ‘Ten feet tall (I)’. The acoustic version of ‘My brother taught me how to swim’ gives a whole new spin on another big pop song from the album and sounds like perfect fodder to be sung around a campfire.
On previous albums it has been easier to pick out favourite tracks. This album is much more a standard ‘pop’ album. It takes a few more listens to really get into and to love, but it’s definitely worth doing so. Once again, Passion Pit have put together another collection of fantastic tracks. Fingers crossed for appearances at the summer festivals. I imagine this album will sound great performed live on a sunny day.