To refer to this as one of the most anticipated albums thus far this year is probably an understatement; throw out Grizzly Bear and this is the album everyone wanted to hear. Passion Pit finally have a full length, Manners, to help you make up your mind; are they worth all this hype?
You’ll have to make up your own mind on that one, as this album is sure to be a polarizing one for many listeners. It builds upon the promise of the bands Chunk of Change EP, but does it go much further than the sounds the band first introduced? Really, at some points, the band seems to sort of tread upon the same spot for a little bit too long.
One thing you will note immediately is that the band definitely will have you moving your feet, as the opening moments of the album definitely provide you with full bouncing capabilities. The pulsating rhythm does not, however, make up for the lack of vocal quality, which really is probably just a matter of personal tastes; the high pitched yelping all across these first two songs is just a bit much.
Then the band hits you with their one-two punch, bringing in “Moth Wings” and “The Reeling” in succession. “Moth Wings” succeeds for the group where other songs have failed, as the band seemed to have tamed that vocal, which allows listeners to see right into the moving sound collages Passion Pit have constructed, as layers dance upon layers, shimmering to the surface. “The Reeling” surfaced as the band’s first single, and deservedly so, as it packs the dance-floor ready stomp that recalls elements of MGMT during their brighter moments. Still, the most enjoyable quality is the warmth of the vocal contrasted against the electronic pulse beneath.
Other moments on the album seem to find the band going over the same space, as they attempt to combine various electronic samples with unique vocals (still a touch annoying), building and building until it achieves dance-psych bliss. But, elementally, it all sort of blends together, as there isn’t much that differentiates each song from the next. Each song seems to run into the next one, making the listening experience a little redundant.
Don’t get upset here, but the release of Manners is probably exactly what everyone expected it to be. It’s a good listen for a few rounds; it’s an interesting one to say the least, but it won’t be the most moving thing you come across this year. Too much of a good thing sometimes turns things for the worse, and in this case, Passion Pit might have just gone that route.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/11-seaweed-song.mp3]
Download: Passion Pit – Seaweed Song [MP3]