Passion Pit's puzzling return
It’s been almost two years since the ever-changing, largely mysterious Passion Pit released their widely acclaimed third album Kindred. Besides a recent solo Christmas album from frontman Michael Angelakos, the band has been mostly silent. Over the past few days, the band slowly, unexpectedly put six tracks out through YouTube — utilizing the channel for Angelakos’s new company The Wishart Group. According to their new Twitter “moment,” the band seems primed for their newest release, Tremendous Sea of Love.
From these tracks, Passion Pit’s brand of indie-pop is as stunning as ever. The six songs traverse unique soundscapes, some instrumental and some brightly painted with Angelakos’s beautiful falsetto.
The band tones down their sound with “You Have the Right” — reminiscent of “Dancing on the Grave” and “Constant Conversations” from previous albums — but they pick the tempo back up to their usual brand on “I’m Perfect,” with the resounding chorus, “Tell me I’m so damn perfect.” On instrumental “Inner Dialogue,” the band plays with a vibrant array of sounds, the melody focusing on shrill synth and punctuated with otherworldly bass undertones, pushing the band toward the highly produced end of their talents. With this new music, we find Passion Pit spanning familiar atmospheres from their previous releases, while still pushing their sound slightly further.
The most profound quality of Passion Pit’s music is the cohesion of their albums. Each offers a distinct vibe and subtle motif that drive the record from front to back, a streak that started with Angelakos’s first EP Chunk of Change. There’s the explosive pop of Manners and the hazy undertones of Gossamer, each of which display strong differentiation between records. That being said, this collection — if it can even be called a collection — lacks the usual assuredness once granted by their enigmatic nature. All we have left is the mantra on “Hey K”: “Love is the answer and the one design / such a simple design, holy architecture.” It’s also newly added to the band’s Twitter bio.
Angelakos’s increased social media presence shows his disdain for pervasive capitalism in the music industry (especially in regard to large festivals) and hints at a rebranding on his part and the band’s. They want to change the way music is available to fans.
Two days ago, Angelakos tweeted from the band’s account: “artist randomly calls out promoter regarding an injustice. promoter spews bs as a ‘statement’ framing artist as liar. artist rolls eyes.” He followed that up with a stream of tweets about lack of artist autonomy in the music industry. In his sarcasm and indignation, it seems the band purposefully avoided capitalistic involvement in the crafty delivery of the new tunes coupled into a Twitter moment.
This cryptic activity begs one question — what does the band have planned? With a sampling of new music and social media activism, but few concrete details on their future, we’re left in anticipation. What is the meaning behind Tremendous Sea of Love? If Angelakos’s online statements are any indication, he has some big plans up his sleeve: “Artists are powerful, they’re taught the opposite. this is going to be an interesting few years. support artists and watch what happens.”