This morning we’ve got a debut release from an act out of Cambridge….Mass, not the UK. The band just released their 2nd album about 4 days ago, but this one was released back in 2009.
Passion Pit – Manners
Listen to it here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Passion+Pit+Manners/74451312
Read about the album: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manners_%28album%29
Fun Facts: The band shares its name with a pornographic film made in the 1980s, starring Traci Lords. Members of the band say they have been asked repeatedly if that film is what inspired their name but they weren’t even aware of its existence until the year after their formation.
Date Originally Assigned: 7/24/12
Passion Pit – Manners
Preconceived Notions: I don’t know a thing about them. Their name sounds like an 80s band who could have had a big movie soundtrack hit. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, away we go…
After Listening: Ok, I’ve heard that song The Reeling a few times, so I guess I have heard these folks. By the time I got to the last song–remix of The Reeling–the “oh noooooooo, oh noooooo” chorus part became very appropriate. I had had enough of the munchkin voices and computerized grooves to last me until the next time I have to listen to something like this. Honestly, I don’t hate this sort of thing, I just can really, really do without it.
Favorites: The Reeling, The Kingdom Come
Least: Swimming in the Flood.(This sorta reminded me of lame 90s R&B for some reason)
Overall: 2.76 stars
Passion Pit – Manners
Preconceptions: Until my drive in to work today I had never heard of Passion Pit. NPR’s Morning Edition had a puff piece about him before I got my coffee.
After Listening: It sounds like someone stepped on Pac Man’s nuts.
Favorite track: Hipster’s Paradise. What? There isn’t a song called Hipster’s Paradise on this album? Isn’t there…? Isn’t there?
Least Fav: All of these songs sound like an ironic emo cover medley of 80’s Yoplait commercials, but Sleepyhead is the worst thing I have heard in months.
Overall: I wasn’t impressed on my commute and I remain unmoved. The shitty synths and overdubbed vocals create a wall of unpleasant sound. There are flavors of several better (yet still annoying) bands, as well as a stink of Polyphonic Spree clinging to these twee electronic earrapers. I blame the late Steve Jobs for making MacBook Pros available to every silly fcker with a bad haircut and a couple grand cash. In years past it would take major studio money to make something this shitty.
FUCK THIS ALBUM!
Prelisten Guess: 3.0
Season 3 To Date: -2.51
Passion Pit – Manners
Is this the album that has that song that featured that NYC Elementary school that Perez Hilton went gaga over after they did a cover of Gaga? Heard it before. Passion Pit is bubbles and robots music.
Yep. Bubbles and robots. And yes, PS22 is the group of kids that sing in “Little Secrets”. Actually, they sing in a lot of the songs.
Make Light – You would think that the high pitched dude voice would make me cranky, but right now I want to run on a rainbow of NyanCat exhaust!
Little Secrets – It’s like MGMT’s kids, but without the scary music video!
To Kingdom Come – I didn’t expect it to start the way that it did, but it reminded me of something that Colin Hay might write.
Sleepyhead – It had a very Pogo – Alice (youtube it if you haven’t seen/heard it) feel to it.
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 4
Passion Pit – Manners- I really dont know how i feel out this. I might like it. I might loathe it. Probably depends on the day. 3.0 if there ever was one.
Passion Pit – Manners: 3.5 stars
Precon: No idea but I’ll say it’s indie dance rock. I can’t stop thinking of Beverly Hills 90210.
Favorite Track: The Reeling
Least Favorite: Let Your Love Grow Tall
First one sounds a lot like “My Sharona.”
Looks like we’re in for a whole bunch of falsetto.
They really nailed that synthy 80’s feel on “The Reeling.” If this wasn’t on the Drive soundtrack it should have been.
They didn’t quite nail it on “Folds in Your Hands.” I get more crappy 90’s pop on that one.
The persistent falsetto does get annoying. If you can’t sing, maybe you shouldn’t sing.
The horns on “To Kingdom Come” are a welcome addition, but the contrast with Pit’s CG sound leaves much of the rest of the album feeling hollow.
“Let Your Love Grow Tall” features tired vocals over a trance beat. After transitioning into the labored sparsity of “Seaweed Song,” I thought we were really going out with a whimper on this one, but “Seaweed” ended up winning me over and left me optimistic. Kinda the story of the album. In general, I found myself at first interested, then slightly turned off, then coming around. It hits some low points where it seems a little flimsy, but it’s the skillful execution of the high points that saves it in the end.
Preconceived Notions- More excited than usual for today’s pick. I own the album but haven’t listened to it in a while. It usually accomplishes its mission of making me feel better and putting me in a good mood though, so it means Tuesday definitely perked up. Also, it’s a Tee Fury grab bag day, and cheap movie night at local theaters, so Tuesday’s got a lot going for it. If I could add a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard on to today, it might be kind of a wonderful day.
Little Secrets is the first song from this album that I heard. I still love it. It sounds like summer time in a city. If I were directing the video, I feel like there’d be a lot of slow-motion running through fire hydrants in a 60s setting being seen. By the time the “higher and higher and higher” chorus kicks in, you should feel like you could skip your Zoloft for the day, but you probably shouldn’t. I hear those things are a real bitch if the scheduling gets off-track.
Moth’s Wings I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this in like 20 different trailers for films. For some reason Crazy, Stupid Love is standing out. I’ll check with Wikipedia. I lied; it was for “Life As We Know It” and “Big Miracle”. “Crazy Stupid Love” was the Muse song, so you can go ahead and blame Ryan Gosling for that pick of mine from last season. Either way, this song has a fair amount of cinematic quality about it, in addition to being able to be legitimately called “soaring”, by people who say that kind of stuff. Additionally, they use the word “incandescently” which is always a poetic win for saps like me. I’m seriously bummed about the lack of fandom videos made to this song on Youtube.
Folds In Your Hands- today is just one of those cases of it being the right time for me to listen to this song. I’ve passed over this song at least a couple of times and never really registered it, but today, I really like it.
To Kingdom Come: the guitar intro sounds like a Dashboard Confessional song. Actually this might be the Dashboard Confessional song with more synthesizers and horns. That’s ok, I like Dashboard too
After Listening: I have missed this album. It’s just there to make you have a good time. Part dancetronica part emopop, it’s got to move up on my party album list. “Little Secrets” might honestly be one of my favorite songs from 2009. Of course synthesizers make everyone cry 80’s, but here there are enough other instruments to take the sting of age out, at least that’s what I think. They sound more like Hot Chip (a Brit band that should be checked out if this was enjoyed) than Duran, Duran. I can’t really complain about any album that makes me feel happy.
Favorites: Little Secrets/Moth’s Wings
Least Favorite: I suppose it might be Sleepyhead, only because the overproduction on the voice is too much. It sounds like Dorothy’s descent into Munchkinland. But much like Munchkinland, it’s still colorful, and I dig the chimes and the breakdown in the middle sans vocals.
Preconceived Notions: Yes RC, this is my choice. Surprised? Maybe, you shouldn’t be….I’ve always said I like my pop “very poppy”. Plus I’m the dude who last season selected a Korean J-Pop girl group. Spoiler Alert: this isn’t quite as poppy.
After Listening: I see some similarities- both in spirit and some musical choices between these guys and MGMT (MGMT leans more towards the hippie rock side), and to me I will always link them as sort of the same indie scene. In truth though, I anticipate Passion Pit blowing up over their next few releases- even moreso than the success of this record…which was pretty impressive in and of itself. They’re more pop than indie rock, and I can’t go a single track on this thing without finding some super catchy melody or rhythm. There are abundant synth licks worthy of the finest 80’s clichés, groove rock moments to break up the insane upper register harmonies, and lots and lots of pop beats and melodies. Critics will perhaps level the accusation that the entire thing is a little decadent and self indulgent. They wouldn’t be wrong necessarily, and what issues I do have with the recording stem mainly from the huge sonic saturation on virtually every track. There are moments when it all seems like too much and the true nature of the song, and its potential enjoyment is buried under a mix of distractions. And, I’ll also admit I can’t see the singer’s constant falsetto deliveries being everyone’s cup of tea either….I however, think it’s the single perfect accompaniment to most of what’s presented here.
Favorite Tracks: Little Secrets – There’s some synth at work here which takes the lead melody to a few special places – especially when the singer hits his upper falsetto. The chorus of -what I assume-are children is also a nice touch for call and response.
The Reeling – The intro melody is subtly rather beautiful, and throughout the song it reappears in pieces, in reverse, and in the background. I see you Passion Pit…I see you…
Least Favorite: None. To me while they aren’t all 5’s…none of them are 1’s.
Overall 4.65 This is how I best enjoy my pop or pop rock music – to the edge of absurdity. To dismiss it as purely easy fare actually belies how difficult it is to write things like this- sure most of their audience probably doesn’t care, but I do. There’s thought here, like lots of beautiful little string sections that often form the softer beginnings of the calm before the storm. The execution is also mostly on point – Passion Pit excels at taking each song they make to a huge dynamic level – big harmonic swells, coupled with vocal and instrumental arrangements that threaten to squeeze even the listener out of the mix. I’m not always in the best mood for this effect, but usually if I’m listening I can get to that point about 3-4 tracks….it’s infectious and it’s my belief that these guys will continue to push their take on pop sensibilities as they gain more and more recognition. As long as they stick to being over the top…well that’s more than alright with me….in fact I’m cutting this off to go checkout album # 2 which dropped last week.