[22 September 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
For a six-song EP, Chunk of Change takes up an awful lot of space. The debut release from Boston’s Passion Pit is a warm and inviting collection of electro-pop that calls to mind popular acts like Postal Service while still blazing its own path. At their best, which they frequently are on this short record, the band pull their songs out, letting cascading sounds stretch out and sustain over simple beats. The vocals start whispery and unassuming, acting as a nice complement to the songs’ subtle melodies. But then, as it happens nearly three minutes into “I’ve Got Your Number”, the band breaks into a plaintiff chorus. The vocals turn into pleading shrieks and the track reveals itself to be not a relaxed groove but a slow insistent burn. “Cuddle Fuddle” gives the percussion a little more presence, but organs still faintly hum over the track, so that the song never feels cut off. The melodies in the songs are compact and poppy, but they come together to make something murky and open-ended. “Smile Upon Me”, in contrast, is a little more insistent, full of cut-up synths and high-pitch harmonics that feel more crunched up than anything else on Chunk of Change. But it’s a slight misstep on a debut that is confidently unassuming, full of energy and melodies so embedded they sneak up on you, but so infectious you’ll find them hard to forget.