Dear friend, as you know
Your flowers are withering
Your mother's gone insane
Your leaves have drifted away
But the clouds are clearing up
And I've come reveling
Like a bastard on the burning sea
I first heard “Sleepyhead” in the beginning of a budding romance, and maybe that’s why I fell in love with Passion Pit so easily, so quickly. How dreamy was the idea therein that a person’s eyes were stars punching holes through the dark, with love and desire burning behind them. The way that Michael Angelakos’s falsetto cut into those dance beats like bits of glass allured me. Jarring in its delivery, blissful in its reception, this was the perfect soundtrack for a blossoming relationship.
Manners met us at the halfway point. We were cruising through the Santa Monica mountains on a hot summer day en route to Malibu. He let me plug in my iPod, so I put “Moth’s Wings” on full blast. He usually ignored most of my musical recommendations, choosing instead the same old Stones songs or spitting Public Enemy. Just as I suspected, he went crazy for this song... I knew he would; he wrote movies and had a complicated relationship with his father. While I sat there imagining our life together in cinematic flashes with this epic song playing, he watched the opening credits of his breakout film and saw his name within them.
I obviously kept this and all contemporary indie bands in the breakup. By June 2012, enough time had passed since our love died, but still, I avoided Gossamer for fear that it would conjure up feelings I had worked so hard to drown. I wasn’t wrong, but I really loved the album and was happy to judge it based on its merits alone, with no outside forces influencing me. Unfortunately, over the years I had trouble ignoring the mixed reviews I'd heard of their live performance, so I stayed away from their concerts, not wanting to burst my Passion Pit bubble. When I was given the chance to review them in Nashville last week, I figured I needed to see them at least once, especially since they had canceled their previously scheduled gig in July. And if they sucked, so what? I would still have my "Little Secrets" and "Constant Conversations" on file.
They didn’t suck at all. Every note was candy to the kids in this 18+ crowd. We danced til we sweat and sang at the top of our lungs, gobbling up one pop confection after another. I literally got wrapped up in one of the final moments during "Sleepyhead," after streamers fell from the ceiling of the converted warehouse that holds Marathon Music Works. No, the experience wasn’t without a healthy dose of nostalgia.* But it provided more joy than pain, and I walked away from it reveling.
*Nostalgia comes from Greek nostos ‘return home’ + algos ‘pain,' a term perfectly suited to Angelakos if you ask me.