CD Review : Passion Pit “Manners”

Is Passion Pit the new up-and-coming ‘it’ band? They certainly seem to have the credentials. The Massachusetts five-piece has played sold out shows all over Europe and North America, not to mention some of this past summer’s biggest festivals, like Bonnaroo. Some of the worlds most respected DJ’s, like Miike Snow and B U R N S, have remixed their songs. But it’s with their first LP, Manners, that they have truly kick-started their career.

Manners, the follow-up to last year’s debut EP Chunk of Change, experiments with samples, keyboards and extremely contagious hooks. Lead singer Michael Angelakos’ lyrics are brutally honest and he has a definite gift for conveying emotions and painting a picture in the minds of listeners. If emotional intensity doesn’t do it for you, however, other tracks like “Little Secrets” offer enough energy to lift anyone out of the deepest depression. The keyboards, the drums and the kids choir-bolstered choruses — it’s madness that should leave a grin on your face.

Angelakos, originally a one-man laptop band, recorded Passion Pit’s first EP as a Valentine’s gift to his then-girlfriend. Soon after, he found himself with four bandmates, a ton of keyboards and a full-length album. Yet, despite this success, Angelakos has gone on record saying that he was depressed while writing and producing Manners. Indeed, taking a closer look at the lyrics, you realize that Angelakos has a story to tell — just like everybody else — but instead of making the music sad, slow and emo, he has instead made it uplifting and exciting.

This is just the beginning for Passion Pit and, although their album is enjoyable, there isn’t a huge of variety of tone, and the songs tend to blend together. The guys use a lot of the same techniques in almost every song. For example, vocal layering — it’s used in almost every song as an effect on Angelakos’ voice and it gets old really fast. It’s interesting how an album full of so much energy, and a band so full of potential, can as-yet lack so much contrast in their songs.

In all, though, Manners is a promising debut. It’s a solid, unabashed pop album full of honesty and catchy songs. But if there is only one reason to check it out above all else, it’s probably the fact that they use hand claps as samples.