Posted on May 28th, 2009 (4:45 pm) by Erika Dick

Each pulsing beat of this album is the beating of the sun’s rays, the racing of happy hearts. It’s the splash as warm skin hits cool water, the shine of healthy glows and smiling faces. This album is the epic adventure from the seat of a bicycle. Bright blues, pinks, yellows and greens at the roller rink.

If this kind of joyful synthy blast of sunshine and sugary sweet youth just isn’t “your thing,” then Passion Pit’s Manners is not for you.

But for the rest of us who enjoy music that leads to inevitable wiggling and grinning like a ridiculously happy fool, Manners is the perfect summer album. It’s full of electric energy, childlike chants, and pulsing passion. The sweater-clad-fuzzy-headed-goofy-named fellows from Massachusetts released their debut full length on May 19th, courtesy of Frenchkiss Records.

The album kicks off with “Make Light.” This track feels like a bit of a test to weed out those who can’t handle Angelakos’ screeching vocals. His, at times, unintelligible warble soars way up into the warm summer air. If you can handle the combination of lively electronics and explosive yelps, then you will certainly enjoy the next tunes as Angelakos gets his voice until control, but lets loose with contagious energy.

“Little Secrets” one of catchy pop synths bound to be a hit – mostly because of the children. Passion Pit’s juvenile sound grows even younger with the addition of a children’s choir. Though the effect is slightly cheesy, the chorus “higher and higher and higher” is irresistibly charming.

Next up is “Moth’s Wings.” The track continues in the same vibrant style, but does not do much more. To quote the track, “You’re resting on your laurels.” This song isn’t quite as exciting as the others, but does expand into shimmering “do do do’s” and “ay ay ay’s” that will make you shimmy.

“The Reeling” is a hit bound to make your summertime playlist. The track begins with a kind of disco-roller-skate vibe which will definitely make you dance (once again, most likely because of the kids). While Angelakos can sound a little desperate “Look at me! Oh, look at me! Look at me!” the carefree sound of children lightens the mood.

Continuing the playful theme of the album, “Eyes As Candles”will have you clapping along. The track hits its climax during the “na na na na na na hey hey hey’s” – something like kiddish teasing on the playground. “Swimming in the Flood” follows a bit softer and slower. Just like “Moth’s Wings,” the track is good, but nothing extraordinary. “Folds In Your Hands” picks back up the pace and offers a few more moments of prime dance beats.

“To Kingdom Come” is super listener-friendly with a warm and catchy melody. Angelakos’ voice swings up and down in the chorus, and “into a pool of godly medicine.” This track is irresistibly cheery, with the glorious addition of saxophones and a brass section.

Track 9, “Sleepyhead” is the only from the Chunk of Change EP to make it to the full length. This is surely every hipster’s theme song – if they didn’t hear the EP, then they downloaded it from Urban Outfitters LSTN #2.

“Let Your Love Grown Tall” brings back the kids. This cheesy, yet endearing technique adds fullness to all the tracks that employ it. The album comes to a close with “Seaweed Song.” The tempo scales back, and Angelakos’ voice returns to the whiny/borderline screech we heard at the beginning of the album. This may be because both of the tracks are relatively bare. Without layers of synth, children shouting, and a few brass horns to support his vocals, Angelakos’ sound is weaker, and frankly, not as much fun.

All in all, Manners is amicably blithe and perfectly ripe for sunny fun. The album is a compact taste of all of Passion Pit’s excitement and joy. The candy-coated goodness may be too much for some, but those with a serious sweet tooth will certainly be blasting Manners all summer long.

Track List

1. Make Light (4:56)
2. Little Secrets (3:59)
3. Moth's Wings (4:16)
4. The Reeling (4:48)
5. Eyes as Candles (4:04)
6. Swimming in the Flood (4:59)
7. Folds in Your Hands (3:39)
8. To Kingdom Come (4:08)
9. Sleepyhead (2:55)
10. Let Your Love Grow Tall (3:32)
11. Seaweed Song (4:25)

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

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