CD Manners [Bonus Tracks] [Limited Edition] (CD 6310058),
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Manners [Bonus Tracks] [Limited Edition]
1. Make Light
2. Little Secrets
3. Moth's Wings
4. Reeling, The
5. Eyes as Candles
6. Swimming in the Flood
7. Folds in Your Hands
8. To Kingdom Come
10. Let Your Love Grow Tall
11. Seaweed Song
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 66258
Chris Zane; Alex Aldi
Personnel: Nathan Donmoyer (drums, programming); Michael Angelakos (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards); Chris Zane (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Chris Zane; Alex Aldi.
Recording information: Gigantic Studios, New York, NY (2008-11-??_2008-12-??&2010-).
Passion Pit's mode of operation on their debut album, Manners, appears to be to juxtapose the giddiest music possible with some truly dark and self-searching lyrics. It's a classic trick that will have you singing along happily to the sound of confusion, sadness, and the torment of one man's mind. You can dig below the sweet falsetto of vocalist/songwriter Michael Angelakos, the rollicking and joyful tunes, and the glittering, shiny surfaces that the group and producer Chris Zane painstakingly create and absorb the insights and feelings of Angelakos' words or not, because the record is satisfying either way -- especially if a record that combines Animal Collective's twee-est moments, Mercury Rev's most cotton-candied jams, the paisley-fied soul of Prince, and the synth pop hookiness of New Order sounds like a good idea to you. As if that weren't enough, they also bring '80s funk influences on the super catchy "Little Secrets" and a slick and pleasing '80s pop sound on a track like "To Kingdom Come" (which would have sounded perfect wedged between Peter Gabriel and INXS on a modern rock radio playlist back in 1986), and made sure to include the song from the previous EP that made people take notice of the band in the first place, the otherworldly "Sleepyhead." Add lots of glitch-pop sound manipulation for a modern sheen, live drums for a human heartbeat under all the Technicolor wall of sound, and a children's choir on a couple songs for extra innocence, and you have a record that could have been a total clustercrash of influences and sounds that ended up sounding hollow and pointless. Instead, thanks to the meticulous production values, the insane catchiness of the hooks, and the pure and true emotional underpinnings below all the gloss, the album is a total success of both sound and vision. [The album was a total success at the cash register too, which led to the 2010 reissue of the album with three bonus tracks.] ~ Tim Sendra
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "It's a shiny bouquet of synth-pop roses, with perfumed Eighties keyboard whooshes and modern stutter beats crooking a finger toward the dance floor."
Spin (p.94) - "[T]heir squeaky indie-pop theatrics are more convincing. Angelakos backs his falsetto with schoolkids, gestures toward the grandiose, even triples the keyboards of his live band."
Billboard (p.57) - "Much of the fun comes from the peppy mulitvoiced choruses -- sometimes sung by kids -- that make themselves the centerpiece in nearly every song..."
Q (Magazine) (p.130) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hey soar with MGMT-esque widescreen vitality and in the boundary-pushing, oddly moving 'Sleepyhead,' they have a contender for greatness."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Passion Pit evolve from a one-man pet project to a fully fleshed concern that gives substance to Angelakos' melodic sensibilities over the course of more focused song lengths, more dynamic arrangements, and 40 minutes of joy-buzzer pushing."
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Columbia (USA) 66258
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