Passion Pit, “Kindred”
Passion Pit’s notoriously self-debasing, childhood-bubble-popping dance anthems have inundated radio airwaves for the last six years, but its ability to use those songs to talk about real issues is what has kept listeners loyal. With Kindred, Michael Angelakos has crafted ten sun-splashed songs just in time for summer, but he’s lost some of Passion Pit’s musicality along the way. As a history, if Manners presented Angelakos as young and insecure, and Gossamer offered his realization of both the cause and the effect of his emotional troubles, then Kindred is his effort toward happiness and embracing the complexities and joys of life. It’s a settling in and a settling down, but instead of reflecting that musically, Angelakos’s vocals are shrill, mimicking younger stars and trendy pop hits. The songs themselves—often over-the-top with handclaps and nursery-rhyme instrumentation all drenched in synthesizers—find some salvation in Angelakos’s savvy production. All this together creates a predicament for fans; it’s encouraging to learn about Angelakos’s personal growth, but it’s a bit difficult to actually listen to.