In the seventh Outside Lands Fest Primer, we bring your attention to Passion Pit, the electro-pop ensemble led by Michael Angelakos that brought you Manners and Chunk of Change. Passion Pit, currently taking hiatus from their national tour, will be appearing at San Francisco Outside Lands Festival in support of their upcoming album, Gossamer.
Passion Pit first caught our attention in 2010 with “Sleepyhead” and “The Reeling” – weird, hallucinatory love songs sounding like the Chipmunks fell into a digital Adventure in Wonderland. Part of the fascination comes from the extraordinary range of sound encompassed in the group’s tracks. Angelakos has estimated some 170 instruments appear in the group’s latest single, the compulsive “I’ll Be Alright”, although Gossamer‘s sound engineer corrected that a modest 140 instruments are used.
Riding a line between smashing you in the head and pulling you up on your tippy-tapping toes, Passion Pit’s music is fanciful yet manic, and obsessively energetic. The energy carries into their live shows, a relief as the band almost never came to be – Michael Angelakos’s first shows were merely him onstage singing with his laptop, playing unarguably catchy tracks but lacking in stage presence. Ian Hultquist (guitar/synth) talked Angelakos into playing with a group, and after a few weeks brought in a crew of musicians including Ayad Al Adhamy on synth and samplers. The band kept changing up before Jeff Apruzzese and Nate Donmoyer finally settled into bass and drums, respectively.
Passion Pit’s first EP, Chunk of Change was a collection of songs Angelakos composed on his laptop as a Valentine’s Day gift for his then-girlfriend. Manners, the bands full-length EP explored themes of darkness and depression against a happy-go-lucky sonic background. The complexity gained the group plentiful accolades in 2010, sometimes overwhelmingly so for Angelakos, who has expressed reservations about being thrust into the spotlight so quickly after the group formed. Apparently still dealing with the fame, Passion Pit has just announced they are cancelling six shows on the their summer tour as Angelakos takes “time for [his] mental health.”
Here’s to his speedy recovery.
Take A Walk, Passion Pit’s first music video from Gossamer