Prepare for the serotonin rush that is Passion Pit. The Cambridge, Mass., quintet has found a much-needed middle ground between the adult keyboard pop of MGMT and The Postal Service, and the more youthful synth ebullience of The Go! Team and Hellogoodbye. Breathless bloggers have made it difficult for the band to live up to its 2008 EP, Chunk of Change, but it accomplishes this handily with its debut full-length, Manners, arguably the happiest hipster record you'll ever hear.
The album is remarkable on a few levels, its consistent euphoria aside. By all rights, we should be tired of the '80s-evoking electro sound, but this isn't merely music via Powerbook; keyboards, drums, bass and the occasional guitar create a multi-genre dynamic similar to what you're currently enjoying on that new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record. Every song possesses an undeniable hook or two, and not in that annoying Top 40 way. And even when singer Michael Angelakos waxes his most melancholic, he ultimately offers aural comfort thanks to the foundation of goose-pimpling synths and celebratory beats. "Look at me / is this the way I'll always be?" he asks on the otherwise blissed-out anthem "The Reeling."
Not for nothing does Angelakos call veteran songsmith Randy Newman as much of an influence to him as Italian disco innovator Giorgio Moroder. The still-going electro pop movement is still suffering from a shortage of real songwriters to herald; Angelakos helps fill that void quite ably.