Passion Pit: Kindred (Columbia) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame ImpalaPassion Pit



Apr 17, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

It’s easy to forget that Passion Pit‘s first two records of critically acclaimed ebullient, stadium-ready synth pop, 2009’s Manners and 2012’s Gossamer, harbored lyrics that shaded much darker. Lead singer Michael Angelakos routinely tempered the dizzying highs of tracks like “Little Secrets” and “Take a Walk” with verses that explored the scarring fallout from things like emotional trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental illness. On Gossamer in particular, Angelakos didn’t hold back on the personal turmoil, which became especially poignant after the group cancelled their first round of tour dates in support of the album because of his need to get treatment for his worsening bipolar disorder.

Regardless, Passion Pit remained a band people could dance to without really understanding or caring about the tumultuous currents of melancholy that quietly pulled the tides of the group’s best songs. And knowing what we know now about Angelakos’ battle with mental illness, it’s hard not to frame every piece of music he makes within that context. But on the group’s excellent third album, Kindred, Angelakos has crafted a record which seems hopeful in the face of the world’s myriad of disappointments, obstacles, and unseen villains, buoyed by the most dynamic, expertly calibrated synth pop of his career. The lead single and album opener “Lifted Up (1985)” pulses like so many Passion Pit songs before it, but Angelakos erupts with pure joy in his voice in the chorus, “1985 was a good year/The sky broke apart and you appeared.” On “Whole Life Story,” the track crackles with analog warmth and twinkly synths while Angelakos is defiant in the face of haters and shit-talkers, even while taking responsibility to a lover for the times he fed into the bullshit that surrounded their relationship.

Angelakos is seeking out help, feeling stronger alone, and owning up to the ways in which he let those he loved down, understanding the difference between the things he can control and the things he can’t. Those themes crystallize in the album’s centerpiece, “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go),” a climax that breaks out of emotional confinement and explodes with happiness in dramatic fashion. The stomping chorus might be the biggest in a career full of them, with Angelakos demanding, “Let’s go until we can’t anymore!/Let’s go until we fall to floor!” For Passion Pit, and Angelakos, Kindred is the conclusion to the first epoch of their career, an album that makes no qualms about looking into the past for strength to face the future. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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