Ex Die in Diem


Asleep on a Sunbeam

So this week I’ve spent a few scattered hours with one of my favourite albums, listening to it twice in order and once shuffled. The wonders of modern technology, eh? It used to be that the only way to listen to an album on shuffle was by siting your washing machine too close to the record deck.

Anyway; the album. It was “Manners”, by a band called Passion Pit, that came back from the states with a friend of mine. (Just to clarify, she didn’t kidnap them or anything: they’re still in the USA, it was more the knowledge of them that hopped the pond.) (I guess people in the UK knew about them before that, actually: it was just that I first heard of them when she came back. I should steer clear of metaphor in future)

So yes, “Manners”: it’s an amazing wee album. If you’ve never heard of Passion Pit and you hate following links, they produce soaring electronic pop records, some of which you’ll have heard if you consume any significant quantity of televisual media: they’ve licensed a bunch of their songs for TV, film, and ads, and a selection have been used in remixes and mashups over the last few years: of particular note is Xaphoon Jones’s awesome blend of “Sleepyhead” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”.

There’s a nice mix of tracks on “Manners”: most feature thumping basslines and melodies so clear and ringing that they sound almost crystalline, but on the special edition of the album the additional tracks include stripped down versions of two of the singles. These analogue alternatives give a peek at the sheer musicality of Passion Pit, and provide a comfortable and relaxing denouement when the album plays in order.

In the course of my researches, I discovered a nice little titbit: to ensure vocal consistency in their sampling, Passion Pit drafted a choir for various tracks on the album. Which choir? The choir of PS22 on Staten Island, made up of 60-70 youngsters from the fifth grade.

One final thought: if you’re interested in the band, can I advise using the link above rather than a google image search? There’s an unfortunate naming coincidence with a film that you wouldn’t want your kids to watch.

Until next week, stay happy.

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