As friendly to Isla Vista house parties as they are to family radio, Passion Pit’s contagious tunes have become something of a symbol for youth. Their 2009 debut LP, Manners, found the band latching onto MGMT’s cresting wave of electro pop with flurries of synthesizers and vibrant pop hooks. It was giddy and uplifting and about as catchy as music came that year. Follow-up album Gossamer builds nicely upon Manners’ foundation with more busy music that’s light on the acoustic, heavy on the electronic. Lead single “Take a Walk” starts with a pretty symphony before launching into a snappy wall of driving drums, whirling synths, and frontman Michael Angelakos’s signature high-pitched cries. Later, “I’m Alright” joins Angelakos’s affirming lyrics with a mix of percussive elements, hip-hop-inspired breakdowns, and a smattering of unrelenting bleeps and bloops. Meanwhile, tracks like “Carried Away” pick up right where hits like “Sleepyhead” left off, complete with twinkling chimes, elastic synth solos, and big, harmony-rich choruses that feel 100 voices strong.
With a title reflecting the many (many) intricate layers that make up Passion Pit’s sound, Gossamer finds the band reaching further and unabashedly embracing the possibilities afforded by big studios and big budgets. It’s an album that’s easy to take in, primed for dance parties, and unapologetically tough to unpack; an absolute must-listen for Passion Pit fans, as well as curious first-timers.