Review: Passion Pit

COSMO GODFREE finds Passion Pit to be the perfect antidote to combat Week 7 cynicism.

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Passion Pit hail from Cambridge, Massachusetts, but to be honest, that’s the closest thing we’ve got to local heroes. Let’s have them as our own.

The reception that they receive at the Junction tonight certainly feels like the kind usually reserved for homecoming celebrations. Clearly, Passion Pit have lost none of their considerable draw in the time they’ve been away.

Now, with new album ‘Gossamer’ poised to dominate the end-of-year charts, and an upcoming headline gig at Madison Square Garden in NYC, it seems like anything could happen for this group. Indeed, tonight’s performance feels remarkably confident and assured, like a band who are taking a well-earned victory lap.

Opening with ‘Take a Walk’ is a solid move – it’s been difficult to switch on the radio without hearing it this summer, and its glam-rock stadium stomp is the closest this band have come to making a proper anthem.

However, of the new songs played tonight, ‘I’ll Be Alright’ is the highlight – a frantic affair that recalls the sample-heavy synth-pop efforts of supporting band Chvrches (well worth checking out), and reflects the recent EDM explosion over in the States.

Lead singer Michael Angelakos’ battle with depression has been documented elsewhere, so I won’t go into it much, suffice to say that it’s wonderful just to see him out on tour at all. The lyrics on the new album reveal an uncertainty, even a certain gloom, which can pivot in a second to become jubilant exhortations of love and confidence.

This, then, is the main appeal of Passion Pit – the music itself perfectly hits that peak of mania before the inevitable descent, the fizzy rush of serotonin that just feels like it might last forever. Personal demons exorcised in a public arena. But always an absolute party.

The band’s live setup has changed since the tour for the last album, and Angelakos has now escaped from behind the stacks of electronics, returning only occasionally to play keyboard. This has given him a new freedom to strut about the stage like the consummate performer he reveals himself to be, twirling his mic in huge arcs and engaging the audience.

Unfortunately, it becomes clear later on that Passion Pit still don’t have a strong enough catalogue to hold our attention for a whole gig. None of the material is particularly weak, but we reach a definite slump after an admittedly very strong opening.

Another track or two off their debut wouldn’t have hurt, which is why the last few songs make up for everything. ‘Sleepyhead’ reminds us all why we fell for Passion Pit in the first place, before a triumphant encore of ‘Moth’s Wings’ and ‘Little Secrets’ sees the band flicking the switch into overdrive.  The perfect sunshine antidepressant before we descend into the depths of winter. Once again (and this is becoming a worryingly common sentiment for me), the Yanks show us how to do indie-pop properly.