With electro pop en vogue at the moment, it’s easy to see why a band like Passion Pit would be on the cusp. The Cambridge, Mass.-based outfit formed in 2007 while most of the members (except for lead singer/keyboardist Michael Angelakos) attended the Berklee College of Music and since then have established themselves as one of the forerunning bands in the genre.
A lot of hype surrounding the band’s latest release, Gossamer, for both good and not so good reasons. Firstly, this is the quartet’s first album since 2009’s Manners, which was seemingly all over the place. Songs like “Let Your Love Grow Tall,” “To Kingdom Come,” “Sleepyhead” and “Moth’s Wings” were placed on TV shows ranging from HBO’s Big Love to Gossip Girl, down to commercials for Rhapsody. If that wasn’t enough, the band performed at mega festivals like Glastonbury and toured with bands like Muse, which helped their profile grow immensely.
The flip side to that was what Gossamer explored. Angelakos’ lyrics were much darker than on Manners to the point where it seemed like they were a precursor to a larger issue, which it was. A few weeks ago, the band cancelled some shows in order for him to get his head right so to speak. Thankfully the group is back and ready to dazzle fans at this weekend’s Lollapalooza.
It wasn’t always gloom and doom for the group. In fact, the singer as a belated Valentine’s Day gift, wrote the first Passion Pit songs, which would later become the Chunk of Change EP, for his then-girlfriend. Before starting the band, he wrote and performed all his material alone using a laptop. After one of his solo shows in the Boston area, Ian Hultquist, who was attending Berklee at the time, approached Angelakos and expressed interest in working with the singer. After filling out their lineup, the band quickly worked on the aforementioned EP and built a nice following.
But it wasn’t until 2009 when things got cooking. Usually, it’s hard for a single band to break at SXSW, but they certainly can use it as their jumping off point. That’s what Passion Pit did. After electrifying on-lookers with their live show, the band was signed to Columbia Records shortly thereafter and the aforementioned album, songs and licenses then blasted the band to another level.
Now with Gossamer out, the band has moved on from a niche electro indie pop act into potentially something bigger. Angelakos’ lyrics are always going to be personal and powerful, that’s just his style. There will always be something to his words, which can sometimes get lost in translation with the peppy music. No matter how you slice it, despite all of the external factors, Passion Pit is a band on the rise and their catchy brand of music, albeit darker, will still resonate with their fans and will make new fans across the world.