By Daly Tongren
Michael Angelakos, the one-man band better known as Passion Pit, will release his third studio album, “Kindred,” on April 21 through Columbia Records.
The synthpop sound arrives just in time for the warming weather. Passion Pit’s commitment to practical pop tunes holds true on “Kindred,” and the lively beats make the music a perfect backdrop to a summer day.
Despite the upbeat and sometimes lighthearted melodies, much of the lyrical aspect of “Kindred” deals with more serious matter, a trick that worked well for Angelakos on the 2012 release, “Gossamer,” as he successfully disguised difficult subject matter behind catchy choruses.
In a Rolling Stone interview in 2012, Angelakos opened up about his time struggling with mental health due to the effects of bipolar disorder. These issues manifested themselves into themes on “Gossamer” and now on “Kindred” as well.
Still, “Kindred” is more of a positive outlook than its predecessor. Lyrically, Angelakos shows progression in his writing, when it comes to thematic elements such as love and insecurities.
The opening track, “Lifted Up (1985),” was the album’s first released single and sets an optimistic tone for the subsequent tracks.
“All my life I stay here waiting, every new year/Always making me feel as though there’s nothing up there/But one day you came out of nowhere,” Angelakos belts in his distinctive falsetto on the track.
Angelakos also relies heavily on metaphors involving weather and ideas of light and darkness on tracks like “Dancing on the Grave” and “Looks Like Rain.” At the same time, Angelakos maintains his keen sense of introspection as a seasoned songsmith.
Notable, jubilant tracks “My Brother Taught Me How to Swim” and “Where the Sky Hangs” are some of the album’s strongest pop anthems, drawing on sanguine keyboard tracks and Angelakos’ irresistible internal treble to create well-rounded minutes of music.
The album comes in at under 40 minutes, the shortest release from Passion Pit yet.
“Kindred” is the perfect mix of sincere lyricism and summertime pop. It’s upbeat enough to play in the background of any patio during grilling season, and it will contribute to a dancey set at any outdoor festival.
The album became available for streaming a week before it’s anticipated release date through iTunes Radio.
Passion Pit will make two Chicago stops on its current tour. Angelakos will play a traditional set at Thalia Hall on May 14, and he will DJ at the Mid on May 15.