When Michael Angelakos made Chunk of Change EP for his (now ex-) girlfriend at Emerson College in 2007, little did he know where it would lead. Change’s closer, “Sleepyhead”, became a go-to hit on MTV, and Angelakos formed Passion Pit, which would ride buzz at CMJ 2008 (QRO recap) & SXSW 2009 (QRO recap), and now chart with Manners, their full-length debut. The band’s high, electro-dance spirits make Manners infectious and enjoyable, without being overplayed or simplistic.
“Sleepyhead” is still the standout on Manners, but only just, as following single “The Reeling” nearly matches it in brightening electro-dance. Passion Pit are clearly at their most enjoyable when they’re most enjoying making music, like with those two singles, electro-dance anthem “Little Secrets”, or the entire back third, including “To Kingdom Come”, “Let Your Love Grow Tall”, and finisher “Seaweed Song”. Yet somehow those tracks don’t all feel repetitive, and Angelakos’ high male vocals don’t feel, well, mannered.
There are some ventures out of that terrain on Manners, most notably the slower sadness of “Swimming In the Flood”, but also the more epic expanse to “Moth’s Wings” and “Eyes As Candles” (and they do once slip into over-synth, with “Fold In Your Hands”). But it is the electro-dance where Passion Pit makes their name, truly making light right from the start with “Make Light”. Electronica has never been so lovely & loving.