The Spinners

Manners (Passion Pit, 2009)

In American, Electronica, Indie Pop, Kate Pedroso on January 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Chances are, your very first exposure to Passion Pit would be to their insanely addictive and repetitive “Sleepyhead”—or at least for me it was, when it was sampled on an episode of British teen drama Skins last season. Without a doubt, it’s the most memorable bit off the 11-track album—a quirky mix of nearly-impossible-to-decipher vocals so insanely warped they sound like midgets singing into your ear, only the thing is addictive and rather clever, and perhaps your reaction to this track is likely to define your relationship with Passion Pit’s music altogether.

And I’m going to come right out with it first thing: I have loved them since discovering them in July 2009, and have never stopped since.

So, everybody needs something to dance to every now and then, and one day you chance upon something like Passion Pit’s Manners, definitely one of my favorite music discoveries in 2009 (if not my absolute favoritest, as it is). “Sleepyhead” can push you to the limit with its shrill vocals that don’t really mean anything, but then it can also grab you and never let you go, as it has done to me.

The track starts with and everything’s going to the beat, and everything’s going to the beat, before accordingly dripping into the most hypnotizing first 30-seconds of anything I’ve ever heard, and all the while they’re saying something that only sounds vaguely like, Please let me hold you. Not to mention it stands out with some interesting writing as well: like fire around the brim / burning solid / burning thin the burning rim is a quick favorite, as it just makes me want to sit back and light something illegal up for ingestion (metaphorically, of course).

And it’s not like Sleepyhead is the only track worth listening to in the album (but then, I’ve been listening to it X times in a row now—as I’ve said, addictive). Easy next favorites are “Little Secrets” (let this be our little secret / no one needs to know we’re feeling / higher and higher and higher), which really makes me want to stand up and throw my hands up in the air or something similarly embarrassing when in public, if only because it sounds like a shout-out to lost youth; and the mellower “Eyes as Candles” (my world is stirring sickly / spits out our voices singing, / “sha la la, oh, no no,” / to kingdom come so slightly), whose somewhat religious undertones are not lost on me at all; and “To Kingdom Come”, which is also laid-back and only very slightly heartbreak-tinged.

Also deserving mention is “The Reeling,” whose delicious intro reminds me of bonfires on beaches, and “Let Your Love Grow Tall,” which is sure to make you go “woo-hoo-woo-hoo” for the rest of the day like you’ve just been properly infected or something.

In all, I would totally bring it to (1) house parties with friends where I can go crazy improvising dance moves with on the spot and not get disowned, (2) back home from the office, and (3) where I can dance the stress of the day away in private. Just the perfect album to do these things with.

– Kate Pedroso

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