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June 2, 2009 | by  | in Music |
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Passion Pit—Manners

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Heartthrob indie kid makes EP. Gives EP to girlfriend as a valentine’s gift. Word gets around. Bloggers blog about it. Pitchfork gives it a 7.9. The single gets played on the HypeMachine a lot. Things go viral. You know the deal.

Right, that’s the banal backstory out of the way.

Passion Pit’s debut album is out now. It’s called Manners. The heartthrob, Michael Angelakos, has a band to support him this time around, so things are a little more muscular than on the Chunk of Change EP. Fuelled by live drums, sleek production and whirling oscillators, Manners is an exhilarating step forward. The original synth-pop formula remains largely the same though, and, as on Chunk of Change, the centerpiece is Angelakos’ attention-seeking caterwaul. It’s all heart-on-sleeve, high pitched and yelpy, blending Gibbard, and Mercer with enough neuroticism to make the Royal Tenenbaums seem like the Brady Bunch.

Some of you will hate him. I really thought the whole electronic-synth-indie thing was on the way out, but there’s something so damn fun about Passion Pit that makes me glad that people are still attempting this kind of stuff. Angelakos really shouldn’t be able to get away with it, but his impassioned earnestness and penchant for writing weird yet catchy chorus hooks carries him past the point of cliché and into the realm of pop glory. Sure, things start to get pretty overwrought by the end of the album, but moments like the sugary 80s chorus of ‘Kingdom Come’ and the immense open high-hat disco slam of ‘Little Secrets’ are so irresistible that you just can’t help but let Angelakos twist your heartstrings into an awkward indie-twirl dance. You should know better, but you enjoy it anyway. That’s what makes good pop. And that’s what this is. Nah-Nah-na-na-na-Nah hey-hey-heys and all.

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