Unless you pay close attention, the sophomore LP by Massachusetts electro-pop outfit Passion Pit sounds exactly like the triumphant follow-up fans of the band expected: Frontman Michael Angelakos’s trademark falsetto soars across a massive landscape of neon-bright synths and restless drum machines. Even from a distance, it’s a thoroughly pleasing listen.
But it’s the subject matter, Angelakos’s deeply personal chronicle of his ongoing struggles with bipolar disorder, that transforms Gossamer into a much more profound experience. Each track becomes a window into the psyche of this troubled genius, from a glimpse at his dangerous dependence on alcohol (“Cry Like a Ghost”) to an account of his hopeful proposals of marriage to his girlfriend (“On My Way”) to the image of an angel carrying his soul out of the bathtub after a suicide attempt (“Where We Belong”).
This combination of vivid lyrics and consistently catchy instrumentals makes Gossamer an extraordinarily cathartic and emotional collection of songs. By the end, you’re rooting hard for Angelakos to fend off his demons—this is only chapter
two, and there’s so much writing left to be done.
Playlist picks: “Carried Away,” “On My Way,” “Hideaway,” “Take a Walk”