Album Review: “Kindred” by Passion Pit

Album Review: Kindred by Passion Pit

Indie-pop band returns with stimulating dance anthems amid some misguided tunes.

kindred

Rating: 3.5/5.0
Release Date: April 21

Catchy enough for dance parties and indie enough for hipsters, Passion Pit has learned to tiptoe down the narrow line between underground and mainstream. Despite being over-played on the radio, the band’s 2012 electro-pop hit “Take a Walk” still leads to jumping party mobs and sold-out shows. Shockingly, the up-and-coming group was forced to cut short its 2012 tour due to health concerns for the frontman, Michael Angelakos, who struggles with bipolar disorder. Rebounding from these personal issues, the band seeks the same addictive style of earlier music, focusing on heavy electronic synthesizer and captivating vocals in its newest album called “Kindred.”

Photo courtesy of The Edge.
Photo courtesy of The Edge.

The new 10-track release begins with the upbeat and stimulating sound of “Lifted Up (1985),” which showcases the same dynamic sound that propelled the band to stardom. Similar energy appears in “Five Foot Ten (I)” and “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go),” which both bring powerful beat drops and an invigorating dance feel. At various points however, the album leaves listeners searching for the vitality and power that elevated Passion Pit’s music to the next level in the past. “Kindred” peaks in terms of both energy and quality with the first track, but the vibrancy fades to slower tempo songs like “Where the Sky Hangs” and “Looks Like Rain.” While some songs may lose some of their lively essence, Passion Pit provides tracks throughout the album that refresh the intensity and restore the fist-bumping spirit.

The album strives to achieve the same exhilarating feel that propelled the band to fame, but “Kindred” wrestles with thematic depth, focusing on love and life’s problems. Angelakos reflects in “Until We Can’t (Let’s Go),” “But the walls are colliding/ Let’s go out and find ourselves a home.” Passion Pit’s writing also exhibits a philosophy of us-versus-them, presenting a strong concept of a united “we” in a war against “this Godforsaken place.” This sense of conflict with the world and the obstacles to love appear as a crucial theme throughout “Kindred” and could reflect Angelakos’ battle with bipolar disorder and balancing relationships. While the themes of love and loss can be cliched and over-used, Angelakos combines his style and lyrical content to successfully reach a level of profundity missing in most popular music with themes that connect with modern lifestyles.

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