21 May 2009

Passion Pit: "Manners"

I have had amazing support from my friends (all of which I would like to thank right now: thank you), and some of them have actually raised the specter of maybe writing. Hyena (where do we get these names from?) is one of those friends who wanted to try his hand at writing. How could I say no? Recently discovering his love for music, he reminds me of the proverbial kid in the candy shop; he has always listened to music, via the radio and MTV, but as he has delved into more serious music listening, and discovering a plethora of musicians (old and new), he is seeing a world for the first time. Enjoy.

Feel like dancing tonight? Well, if so then don’t forget your manners; the electropop band Passion Pit has just released their debut album “Manners” (18 May 2009 UK, 19 May 2009 USA). The band hails from Cambridge, Massachusetts and is comprised of Ayad Al Adamy, Michael Angelakos, Jeff Apruzzese, Nate Donmoyer, and Ian Hultquist. Stretching back to the 80s for their influences, adding to what has been called an “infantile” movement in music that this blog has pointed out (The Boy Least Likely To, Lacrosse), Passion Pit uses savvy arrangements and alluring sounds and beats like veterans, giving this album an amazingly mature sound.

“Manners” is one of those albums that you can dance along to all night. The opening track, “Make Light,” takes off very strongly and from the beginning draws you in and doesn’t let go. It does not hold anything back and foreshadows the high energy and power the rest of the album has. Each song complements each other beautifully and keeps the album moving along without you realizing sometimes that the songs have ended and slid into a new one. What I really like is that album works as an entire piece, but yet each song is amazingly strong on its own. You are able to jump to any song on the album and it will not loose its alluring power.

But please don’t allow the amazing beats, rhythm and overall dance/party vibe fool you into numbness, as this album can lead you on a deep adventure. For instance, while shaking my bootie to “Little Secret,” I was blown away by the casually, matter-of-fact delivered lyrics: “Mother, I can tell what you’ve been thinking, staring at the stars on your ceiling thinking once there was a power that you were wielding, and now I’ve hit the mark staring at the dark and I cannot help but ignore the people staring at my scars.” Like most children, Passion Pit returns back to the topic of mother, but this time with a twist; I am going to venture to say this song is about getting high, from the “came down” in the beginning to the repeated “higher and higher and higher,” which has to remain “secret.” As “friends complain you’ve caused pain,” “shaming your whole family’s name,” it would be mother who sits back powerless, not knowing what to do, as a grown child who she has no control over does what he does. She can only allow others to see the scars he creates. The image of how something can be destructive to ones around you is powerful. And yet you can dance to it!

Passion Pit’s “Manners” has caught a lot of attention on the Internet and through word of mouth. The unique voice of Angelako and the catchy soundsacpes, combine into a diverse and expressive experience. Electronic-based music has been making a come back; though us on this side of the Atlantic have had to import much of electropop music from Europe, it is amazing that more Americans are finally producing cutting edge and relevant electronic music. You don’t believe me? Buy this album, put on your dancing shoes, and boogie your bootie off, and then let me know what you think.

Track Listing:
1. Make Light
2. Little Secrets
3. Moth’s Wings
4. The Reeling
5. Eyes As Candles
6. Swimming in the Flood
7 Folds in Your Hands
8. To Kingdom Come
9. Sleepyhead
10. Let Your Love Grow Tall
11. Seaweed Song

Keep up with Passion Pit at their homepage and MySpace.

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