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Michael Angelakos’ Recovery Apparent in Passion Pit’s Kindred

Logan Mullen

Arts and Entertainment Editor

Photo courtesy of Passion Pit Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of Passion Pit Facebook page.

A lot can happen in three years. Just ask Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos.

Since the July 20, 2012 release of sophomore studio album Gossamer, Passion Pit canceled part of their tour (which, in fairness, was announced on July 16) so Angelakos, who was on suicide watch according to Pitchfork, could pursue treatment for bipolar disorder. But by February 8 of the following year, Passion Pit was playing in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden and would continue to tour through 2013 and parts of 2014.

Flash forward to this past Tuesday, when Passion Pit released their third studio album, Kindred.

To those passively familiar with the group’s work, Kindred is just more of Angelakos’ falsettos backed by cheery-sounding keyboard-laced beats. However, when listening to previous Passion Pit work, the lyrics are far from cheery or uplifting, as they grapple with Angelakos’ lifelong struggles with mental illness.

But as aforementioned history points out, Angelakos is not in the same dark place he was in when Gossamer, Manners (2009) and even the debut EP Chunk of Change (2008) were released. And Kindred reflects that to a large degree.

Opening track “Lifted Up (1985)” is a thank you to his wife Kristina Mucci for her unending support even when he was in the trenches, whereas “Whole Life Story” is an apology for putting his entire life story, which of course affects Mucci, “out there for them to buy.”

After admitting to lying about his height in “Five Foot Ten (I),” Angelakos discusses his desire to be alone, though with Mucci, not just himself. “Dancing on the Graves” is a quiet, emotional passage of Angelakos trying not to let his mental illness pull him under completely, as it nearly has.

“Looks Like Rain” is a witty take on cynicism, with everything being perfect until the rain comes.

The intro of “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go)” is reminiscent of “I’ll Be Alright” from Gossamer;  however it provides a much more bright, optimistic outlook on living. This is the song that epitomizes the feeling that it seems Angelakos is attempting to give off in Kindred.

“Where the Sky Hangs” may be the best track on the album for its sheer funkiness. The bass riff at the beginning sets the stage for the track perfectly. It provides an outpouring of love and emotion into the lyrics topped off with a modestly paced beat that draw the listener in. The listener comes for the beat, but stays for the lyrics in “Where the Sky Hangs.”

Kindred is similar to all other Passion Pit albums in the sense that it takes a few listens to get a feel for the album, but each listen will provide a new favorite track. The beats are insatiable, catchy, and happy, and each track brings refreshing, new lyrics that prove just how unique of a songwriter Angelakos is.

Thankfully, the lyrics match the music this time around.

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