Passion Pit has always astounded me with their unabashed, catchy synth-pop. I like “Manners” for the same reason I liked “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix:” While each song can be too consistent with each other, it still manages to work and feel fresh even though track 3 is the same as track 2.
“Manners” is hard for me to talk about. There isn’t a lot I can say about it besides that it makes me want to… dance? I don’t know — each song is full of hooks carefully constructed to keep you around. As a song goes on you can’t help but make it to the end every time because it wont let you go away. For one minute the synth and the bass are creating a tastefully addictive melody that entrances you. Soon, before you get the chance to get bored of the sound, it flips right into a new hook further pulling you in. It’s pop music. It’s not complicated. But it’s tricking you into thinking that it is.
There’s no shame in how dance-y this album is. It’s fun to listen to. It’s one of those albums that I like to listen to when I want to stop thinking hard about stuff. Turn your brain off and fall into the sweet bliss that is the sound of “Manners.” In a world where everything has to be artsy, or have some kind of meaning, Passion Pit is mindless enjoyment. Sure, I think Michael Angelakos (Lead Singer) is saying something in his songs – I think “The Reeling” is about homelessness. But, frankly, I’m more mystified by the sound of his voice to pay that much attention to the words.
That’s another thing that I love about “Manners.” Angelakos’ voice, while at first can be jarring, works with the style they have going on. His falsetto technique matches itself well with the overly-happy bliss-pop. It’s the same as the upbeat sound that accompanies it — all working together in harmony with one goal in mind: To make you happy. It’s just too bad Angelakos can’t actually keep up his vocal technique in their live shows.
A lot of people I know have only listened to “Sleepyhead.” And I have to say to anyone who hasn’t gone beyond that, you’re missing out. If you like “Sleepyhead” to any degree, I guarantee that you’ll love every single track on “Manners.” The album is full of songs that trump “Sleepyhead” in so many ways. Songs like “Eyes As Candles” or “Little Secrets.” In comparison “Sleepyhead” is the worst song on the album, which is saying a lot because it’s still an amazing track.
WINNER: “Manners” by Passion Pit
WHY: It’s simple, and that’s probably why it’s so refreshing. Pure audio bliss.