The musical component of Passion Pit is joyously bouncy electro-rock with a melancholy streak, the kind that attracts radio programmers (CD102.5), commercial programmers (Taco Bell) and TV programmers (Saturday Night Live) like mosquitoes. It is pop music through and through, built on timeless tropes but unmistakably a creature of its time.
“I think we lucked out that people are opening their ears to synths again,” said drummer Nate Donmoyer, who also DJs under the name Shuttle. “There’s nothing new, but it’s just the next wave of it. It started to feel like around 2007, which is when the band really started… a lot of house and electro started to spread beyond just DJ and club circles, which eventually led to the next wave of EDM. We were just lucky to have some of the same sonic elements.”
Singles like “Take a Walk” are fun to listen to, but apparently not much fun to make. Frontman Michael Angelakos, who began the band as a home recording project at Boston’s Emerson College, postponed nine tour dates this year to seek treatment for his mental health. It wasn’t the first time the bipolar brain behind Passion Pit threatened to crack; Angelakos was hospitalized in 2009 after on-stage meltdowns at SXSW, and trying to follow-up Passion Pit’s smash debut Manners proved excruciating.
“It just kind of made more pressure on Mike to deliver a next album, and I think it just made it pretty stressful,” Donmoyer said.
Judging from a revealing Pitchfork feature, “stressful” is an understatement. The tempestuous period provided ample fodder for the other half of Passion Pit’s equation: reflections on personal tumult delivered by Angelakos in searing falsetto.
But sophomore album Gossamer did come out, and the tour is back on schedule for Saturday’s stop at LC Pavilion. Donmoyer will DJ at A&R Music Bar afterwards, the latest of Shuttle’s many gigs here.
Donmoyer’s record spinning was his gateway into Passion Pit; one of the group’s first gigs was at a dance party he hosted. His party-rocking background helps shape concerts as vitalizing and high-tech as Passion Pit’s records.
“Overall the trajectory of the show is like a DJ set,” Donmoyer said. “Start high, end strong.”