NBHAP Rating: 3,3/5
[one_half last=”yes”]PASSION PIT
Label: Columbia Records
01. Lifted Up (1985)
02. Whole Life Story
03. Where the Sky Hangs
04. All I Want
05. Five Foot Ten (I)
06. Dancing on the Grave
07. Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)
08. Looks Like Rain
09. My Brother Taught Me How to Swim
10. Ten Feet Tall (II)
Let the demons dance
Michael Angelakos is a living contradiction and therefore one of indie music’s most fascinating characters. His project PASSION PIT is the manifestation of this. Angelakos is fighting a life-long battle with his bipolar disorder and was clearly struggling over the past years. He was already on suicide watch but managed to embrace his flaw in all its ugliness while creating something beautiful out of it. The music of PASSION PIT has always been on the opposing side of these fears – bright, uplifting, a bit naive and life-embracing. Kindred, the third album by his alter ego continues what Manners (2009) and Gossamar (2012) started. It’s pure light and power that allows Angelakos to break loose and create a hopelessly positive spirited pop album you either honestly love or hate for all these reasons.
Love, peace and happiness… again
‘1985 was a good year/ The sky broke apart and you appeared’ … Angelakos starts his third studio album with a bright statement. Lifted Up washes all sorrows away. It’s the slightly kitschy stadium synthpop trademark sound that defines PASSION PIT ever since they started out. The singer delivers an honest over-the-top lover song. Whole Life Story and Where The Sky Hangs slow down the pace a bit but keep the love within Angelakos alive. ‘I get caught up in your heartstrings’ he sings in the latter one. Just like on its predecessors Kindred keeps the right balance between the danceable power-pop and tender midtempo tunes. Dancing On The Grave is a really sweet ballad. ‘The night is deafening and brings on defeat’ Angelakos points out as he surrenders to the beauty of the late hour. But right afterwards Until We Can’t takes us right back on the PASSION PIT power trip as the singer shouts: ‘Let’s go ’til we can’t anymore’ while he walks through a pumping high energy and almost EDM-like musical environment.
The end is near
It’s only PASSION PIT if you can sing along in an instant. All I Want and My Brother Taught Me How to Swim are just meant to last long enough in your head. Angelakos makes no secret about the fact that his music is shiny and sparkling mainstream pop that isn’t afraid to attract the masses. Kindred is even more obvious in that case as the artist embraces contemporary Top 40 sounds and sometimes even slightly flat choruses. How else can we explain the auto-tune overkill in Ten Feet Tall (II)? PASSION PIT take no detour, they make no prisoners, they want your attention right from the moment you start to play Kindred. The whole idea, in the end, is always a bit over-the-top, this time even more than on the previous two studio albums. In the end it almost feels as if you ate too much candy. And it feels a bit as if the PASSION PIT concept reached a dead-end on its latest album. Any further adventures in that musical territory would mark stagnation. Hopefully, Michael Angelakos is also brave to turn away from the sunshine in the future.
Once again, PASSION PIT deliver an over-the-top doses of power-pop on ‘Kindred,’ as they aim to gain a maximum of attention whether you like it or not.