Passion Pit | Manners

Frenchkiss (2009)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  May 6, 2009
3.5 3.5 Stars


Passion Pit, "The Reeling" (mp3)
Long have we at the Phoenix trailed the spark as it crackled down the winding wick toward the ostensible powder keg of this, Passion Pit's first full-length release. And why not? After years of Boston's repping itself on the national stage with scally caps and mime make-up, the promising prospect of a blog-stoking, pant-tightening, fresh-making outfit like the Pit feels long overdue. The good news is, it sounds only slightly so.

The ballyhoo'd abduction of chipmunk-soul tropes into indie-pop territory showcased on their introductory single, "Sleepyhead," served them well through those buzzy first years of their career, and that track is rewarded with inclusion on this proper debut. But if Manners can be seen (like many auspicious debuts) as an extended unpacking of its best single, "Sleepyhead" is not it.

Passion Pit's progress can be most fully appreciated in "The Reeling" — a glittering, stomping, powerhouse that flings itself past any expectations that their debut Chunk of Change EP might have set — and not just because of its choir of public-school kids. Those whose prolonged exposure to Michael Angelakos's falsetto eventually led to involuntary wincing will be happy to know that it's kept in comfortable check here — at times, its chummy vim completely vaporizes any hazard of gimmickry. The surprising, swirling elegance of "Moth's Wings" alternates with drink-spilling spans of booty whomp; the sharp teeth and synthy sheen of "Little Secrets" play well with its cluttered percussion and gnarly bass nudges; and "Folds in Your Hands" might be the only jam to come out of Boston this year that'll get distant teenagers effortlessly laid.

Thanks for this, Pit crew; next time you take two years to push out 11 songs, we'll understand why.

PASSION PIT | Paradise, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | June 18 |

Related: Photos: Best of BMP Concert 2009, Review: WFNX's Miracle on Tremont Street 2009, 2009: The year in local pop, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Paradise Rock Club, mp3, Michael Angelakos,  More more >
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