You’ve got to hand it to Michael Angelakos’ band of beardy Bostonians. They’ve succeeded in engineering the kind of breezy electronic pop that is so definitively 2009 you wonder how they didn’t bugger up the time-space continuum.
Adding a dash of the cerebral to the bare-chested psychedelia of MGMT and their ilk, the lo-fi charm of Passion Pit’s EP ‘Chunk Of Change’ had the blogosphere wanking on to its keyboard. Its highlight, ‘Sleepyhead’, is the best thing on their album: prismatic tones, a warped Eastern sample strung tightly across a sluggish dance beat and erratic keyboard squeals. No doubt ‘euphoric’ will be the most used adjective applied to a band since Vampire Weekend shot the last journalist to call them Paul Simon-y.
However, while they do dip into an Avalanches-esque sample-based sonic palette, most of ‘Manners’ paints with much broader, primary-coloured strokes. The opening synth vamp of ‘The Reeling’ sounds weirdly like an
old-school hardcore breakdown, before collapsing into starry disco-pop. It’s enough to make Hot Chip nervous next time they programme their Casios. Likewise, the lush Master System pads on ‘To Kingdom Come’ would sum up woozy Saturday mornings even to those who didn’t have a childhood. “I’m swimming in a pool of Godly medicine”, sings Angelakos, riding the wave of bliss to breaking point. He’s not wrong.
There are times when the album feels strangely medicated; the positivity, when heaped upon the listener in brutal doses, makes you feel trapped in one of those American self-help groups. But, hey, you can’t begrudge them for being happy little shits, and for now it looks like they’ve saved us from a summer airbrushed over by Empire Of The Sun. Just no more handclaps, please.
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