michael gallucci

ALBUM REVIEWS

In album review on 07/06/2012 at 10:51 am

Passion Pit

Gossamer

(Columbia)

Why go low-fi when there are children’s choirs, wall-rattling synths, and pop hooks the size of a small country out there to explore and use? Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos crams as many canvas-covering devices that will fit into the spaces of the Massachusetts quintet’s summer-ready second album. Gossamer is basically more of everything that made 2009’s Manners a hit (you can hear its influence in everything from car commercials to bands like Foster the People). So it’s a bigger and more focused record, from the monster synth attacks of “I’m Alright” and “Cry Like a Ghost” to the album’s sweeping theme of hope amid despair. Nothing seems to bring Angelakos down – not lost family connections or his girlfriend walking out on him. It’s all summed up on Gossamer‘s penultimate track, “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy.” Words to live by.

The Gaslight Anthem

Handwritten

(Mercury)

Of course Brian Fallon, the Gaslight Anthem’s frontman, would say something like, “See you on the flip side,” as he does on “45,” the opening song on the band’s fourth album. A tattooed Springsteen freak with a punk past, Fallon is a student of rock history and one of the few guys still around who thinks three chords can still make a difference. Producer Brendan O’Brien gives Handwritten Springsteenian heft. Appropriately.

Micachu and the Shapes

Never

(Rough Trade)

Armed with a homemade acoustic guitar and boundless energy, 24-year-old Mica Levi twists what you know about modern-day indie rock and tosses out something that resembles pop music for open-minded industrialists. Is that a vacuum cleaner we hear in “Easy,” the opening cut on her British band’s second album? And what’s going on with that saxophone-sounding thing in “OK”? Consider it post-post-punk.

Laetitia Sadier

Silencio

(Drag City)

Sadier has been the lead vocalist in London electronic-pop group Stereolab since the early ’90s, so it’s no surprise that her second solo album sounds like a less adventurous record by her band. Bachelor-pad coolness and French-accented cooing drive songs like “The Rule of the Game,” “Find Me the Pulse of the Universe,” and “There Is a Price to Pay for Freedom (And It Isn’t Security).” Mix yourself a highball and settle in.

Sugar

Copper Blue/Beaster

File Under: Easy Listening

(Merge)

Bob Mould’s other buzzsaw-guitar trio filled in the pieces between Hüsker Dü and his erratic solo career. The band’s three records – the 1992 debut Copper Blue, the following year’s Beaster EP, and the 1994 swan song LP – get the deluxe reissue treatment here. The three-CD Copper Blue (paired with Beaster) and double-disc File Under areloaded with B-sides and concerts, but it’s the original spiky indie-punk songs that still sting.

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