Passion Pit finds balance in music and personal trauma



Eddie Brancale

Michael Angelakos, the lead singer of the electropop band Passion Pit, is a hero in his own right.  He has battled bipolar disorder and depression throughout his career, all while dealing with the burgeoning success of his band. 

In 2012, he was forced to cancel the final leg of a tour in order to check into a mental health center. Angelakos was hesitant at first to go public with his condition, however, he later embraced the opportunity to spread awareness of bipolar disorder and help others cope with it. 

He is now frequently seen speaking publicly about the disorder in an effort to combat the stereotypes associated with it. He has spoken of his trauma to many news outlets and magazines, and admits that while the last few years have been some of the darkest times of his life, he is now in “the best place he has been in a long time.” 

Like many artists before him, Angelakos uses his music as a means to communicate his pain and transform it into bright, joyous pop music. On Passion Pit’s first two albums, “Manners” and “Gossamer,” Angelakos sings of his grief, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction while masking them in powerful electro-pop. 

“Kindred,” Passion Pit’s third studio album, finds Angelakos on the next stage of his journey, as he sees the light as the end of the tunnel and finds a more joyful balance between his music and his personal trauma. 

It may not be Passion Pit’s strongest work, but it is an important step in Michael Angelakos’ life and career. 

The first thing you notice about “Kindred” is its joyful sound. The album’s opener, “Lifted Up (1985),” an ode to Angelakos’ wife, shows his gratitude towards her in guiding him through his troubled times. 

The following song, “Whole Life Story,” continues his dedication to his wife, as he seeks forgiveness for outing their private life to the public. The highlight of the album, “Where the Sky Hangs,” is simple yet joyous, and its 80s inspired instrumental makes for a catchy anthem. 

However, songs such as “All I Want” and “Dancing on the Graves” seem out of place, while the album’s closer “Ten Feet Tall,” features Angelakos singing through auto-tune over a jumbled instrumental. While these tracks aren’t necessarily bad, it seems that they were undeveloped and lacking in cohesion with the rest of the album.  A dip in quality is easy to understand, as “Gossamer” showed Passion Pit at its very best, as songs such as “Take a Walk” and “Carried Away” were indie smashes and “Constant Conversations” transcended several musical genres.

The title, “Kindred,” speaks for itself. Here, Michael Angelakos is putting himself out there in fullest form, and is being more honest about his personal life than ever before. 

His story is an inspiration to many, and his kindred spirit allow for his listeners to wrap themselves up in his life story through his feel good jams. 

Even though “Kindred” lacks the transcendence of its predecessor, it still allows Passion Pit to soar.