There is nothing like the sophomore album to honestly separate the proverbial men from the boys (music wise) – it has to show growth and ‘taking it to the next level’ but also still have the things that we loved from the debut. Three second albums I have been waiting for are from Passion Pit, The xx and La Roux. I’ve literally been chomping at the bit and luckily, it seems that by the end of this year my sophomore dreams may come true (I’m not entirely 100% on La Roux but there has been news). The xx today released the first track, ‘Angels’ from their second album and oh yay! NPR is streaming Passion Pit’s Gossamer on ‘All Songs Considered’.
I loved Manners with its shrill, speeded-up-recording sounds of little children and on Gossamer, those kids have grown up, their voices have deepened, life has happened and they have kept making cool, dance-y indie music. There are still those colorful synths riding on those sweet bubbles of ‘aaahs’ that float throughout tracks, but it’s all just matured. Like the very soulful kind of r’n’b-ish ‘Constant Conversation’ that could so easily have smooth rap on the remix (Dear Passion Pit, I’m just saying) and the quite fun ‘Carried Away’.
The album does get quite emo towards the end, like the pessimistic ‘Love is Greed’, though it is all still quite sonically interesting and perhaps, were I in that (post-break-up) state of mind, I could see myself jam/crying to it at some point. But really, I would like to high-five frontman Michael Angelakos (who just announced that the band has had to cancel July tour dates due to mental health issues) for a pretty darn solid sophomore effort. This is why the follow up LP excites me – getting to hear an artist go in the musical direction that’s a sweet reminder of that moment of love at first album.