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KTW vs. ETC: Passion Pit – Chunk of Change Ep

A versus by Kyle T. Wilson and Ernessa T. Carter

First, you should click play on the below EP, so that you can listen to the Passion Pit while you read our versus:

Then ETC’s Take:

Now, I almost don’t want to tell you guys about Passion Pit, because right now they/he feel like my secret boyfriend. It’s a little like discovering Santogold (thanks Kasey Bomber!) before she was a Converse pitchwoman. Or TV on the Radio (thanks Karen O from The Yeah! Yeah! Yeahs I-Tunes Celebrity Playlist!) while they were still doing $25 shows at the MusicBox. Or Little Jackie (thanks David B!) before they were featured in People magazine.

However, I’ve come to accept about myself that if I know about an act, then they’re  just a Wikipedia entry away from no longer being underground. I’m just not cool enough to know about bands before everyone else does.

So now, I’m having to thank Kyle, because he suggested this clever little band/project out of Massachusetts by way of Emerson College for this week’s versus. Basically it’s one guy (Michael Angelakos) with a synth hard-on putting together the music and a 5-man set-up representing for him on stage. And the results are just too listenable. I would recommend the entire EP, as it’s hard to listen to just one song, and they seem to be designed to weave seamlessly into one another.

My only complaint about the Passion Pit is that they often sound like some other great synth-heavy band you like. Not derivative – but perhaps overly influenced by 80’s forces. Especially towards the last few tracks when they start running out of ideas.

However, 3 out of 6 (7 if you count the remix of their current single “Sleepyhead”) ain’t half bad, and it’s definitely worth downloading, especially if you’re a fan of formed straight out of college philosophy class art bands like MGMT.

Fave Songs: Cuddle Fuddle, I’ve Got Your Number, and Better Things (though it reminds me A LOT of the Danny Hutton Hitters song, “Wouldn’t It Be Good” from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack – see what I mean after the jump):

And Then Kyle’s Take:

I was fully prepared to continue the fight Ernessa tried to pick with me because I liked one TVOTR song slightly more than the one she liked.  And then she goes and thanks me for turning her on to a band I discovered all of two days ago in preparation for this blog post.  Well you’re welcome.  Go ahead, undermine a potentially winning gimmick on the second week.  Truce.  Whatever.

But on to Passion Pit.  It’s all charming enough, I suppose.  I see great potential here, and since this band’s story sounds like it started out with a smart college kid noodling (their MySpace page notes the EP began with Michael Angelakos recording the whole thing by himself as a Valentine to his girlfriend), I’m sure that he knows what he’s got now and there will be no stopping him.

On first listen, right about the time I start to find the electro bleeps precious on the opening track, “I’ve Got Your Number,” this refreshing half-sung, half-shouted double-tracked chorus comes in: “But have you seen me crying / tears like diamonds” and it helps me loosen up a bit.  I get a little Postal Service vibe on “Smile Upon Me,” at which point I promptly skip to the third track.  “Cuddle Fuddle” starts out more promisingly.  It continues that way too, as the vocals shift out of the semi-sung monotone into some welcome breathy/breathless falsetto.  “Live to Tell the Tale” starts out super 80s but I kind of love the sound of it.  Then there’s more of that Postal Service vibe when the monotone vocals return in the chorus.  Again, it’s charming enough, but I’m still waiting to be grabbed.  And then comes “Better Things,” which has me at the opening vocals and more of that sing-shouting, “You’re gonna drive me crazy!”  They are clearly saving the best for last.  “Sleepyhead” is just the bass-thumping icing on the proverbial cake.

So good work Angelakos.  Congrats on the Boston accolades and internet sensation status.  Just don’t skimp on the dance/thumpy, sing/shouty and rockstar falsetto and I’ll keep listening.

Now here’s that Danny Hutton Hitters song that ETC referenced:

And last but not least, check out this random “dad” character dancing at a Passion Pit performance. So funny, you almost wonder if he’s not a viral plant.