Review: Passion Pit — Manners
Get ready for the Passion Pit backlash! They were hyped even before the release of their first full-length with only the Chunk of Change EP to their name (and moderate success with the single “Sleepyhead,” which reappears here). The band’s brand of overly-caffeinated pop music sung in a piercing falsetto is sure to inspire a love it/hate it reaction among listeners. They’ve already gained frequent comparisons to MGMT, but where MGMT have a retro-affected coolness even on their most hyperactive party tracks, Passion Pit seems painfully sincere.
Honestly, I’m having a conflicted relationship with this record. My first impression(s) are that I dislike it, yet I find myself strangely compelled to play it over and over again. The catchy numbers do get under your skin whether you like it or not. It seems that the members of the band have absorbed all of electronic music from the last two decades: you have the squealing, cheap-sounding synth racket of early 90s dance pop mixed with the ambience of late 90s trip-hop and the 21st century disco resurgence. The results are sometimes more than a little shrill, like the churning, headache-inducing single “The Reeling.” The first track “Make Light” and the previously mentioned single “Sleepyhead” are charming enough, and the shimmery, anthemic “Moths Wings” is a welcome relief sandwiched between two dance-heavy tracks. Slow-burner “Swimming in the Flood” is also a nice detox, coming as it does between a couple of pretty mediocre songs that I’ve already forgotten. Manners is about half of a great party album, and half sugar-high hangover.