Passion Pit: Manners

Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, shall we? Manners, the debut album from Cambridge quintet Passion Pit, sounds a hell of a lot like MGMT. This is not to say that Passion Pit are thieves, mind you; with three keyboard players, a bass player and a drummer, there are only so many ways your band can sound, especially when your singer has a helium-soaked voice like Passion Pit’s singer and songwriter Michael Angelakos. So yes, the band sounds like a streamlined version of MGMT (a.k.a. they don’t dabble in psychedelia), but let’s not throw the book at them just yet. Indeed, Manners is a rather impressive melding of ’80s synth-pop with modern-day technique. Lead single “The Reeling” is stunning, a pop makeover of the Chemical Brothers’ “Star Guitar” with a monster cut & paste drum track. “Folds in Your Hands” has its roots in early ’90s house music, and “Sleepyhead,” with its fairy princess backing vocal line, is insidiously catchy. Whether or not it falls in another band’s shadow, Manners is a good first step; it will be interesting to see where they go from here. (Frenchkiss 2009)

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