Street Sounds: A trip to the moon

The Morning Star's Dean Gordon-Smith reviews Massachusetts band Passion Pit's new album Gossamer.

Massachusetts band Passion Pit releases new album Gossamer.

Massachusetts band Passion Pit releases new album Gossamer.

The Massachusetts five-piece electro alterna-pop band Passion Pit is one of the more creative forces on the burgeoning festival culture lately, bringing post-rave dynamics to a bubble-gum sweet tooth for melodies.

The band might be techno nerds, but they sound human.

Listening to Mirrored Sea off their second album, Gossamer, you can hear the wallop that the band packs. Add that to a live concert environment and a big sound system, and it’s an impressive wall of sound.

Although they’re hailed as college campus heroes and enjoyed by festival circuit hipsters and sundry gamers, the band has further appeal for those out of the loop, such as it is.

They’ve got big bottom end and lighter-than-ether hooks (On My Way), and a moving and powerful electronica sound that’s been harnessed and brought down to earth (Cry Like a Ghost).

The band, especially singer/keyboardist Michael Angelakos, is sonically akin to electro rockers The Shins and James Mercer, in particular, and Two Veils to Hide My Face is reminiscent of Mercer’s work with Danger Mouse in Broken Bells.

The lyric imagery, tenor vocals, propulsive beat and shining arrangements suggest a union of pop melody and 21st century gear power with a no limits sound source.

Passion Pit work their keyboards (and guitars and drums) to layer and texturalize songs into bright statements with offhand lyric content. The band links Angelakos’ high vocals with the alternately booming and chiming keyboards and synths of Ian Hultquist and Ayad Al Adhamy to create a wide and winding path of sound that has a suggestion of the anthem hidden at its heart.

–– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews music for The Morning Star. His column, Street Sounds, appears every Friday.