Gossamer is the second studio album by American indie pop band Passion Pit, released on July 20, 2012 by Columbia Records. Recorded in Los Angeles and New York City in 2011, the album was produced by Chris Zane, who also produced the band's debut album Manners (2009), and lead singer Michael Angelakos.
In an August 2010 interview with the NME, Angelakos stated that work had already begun on the follow-up to Manners, and that the band intended to release the album in the spring of 2011. "It's gonna be a really fantastic, exciting, beautiful, gorgeous record. An absolutely beautiful record. I'm so excited", he said. The album's title was announced on April 24, 2012, along with its release date of July 23, 2012.
"Take a Walk" was released as the album's lead single on May 8, 2012. The accompanying music video, directed by David Wilson and supported by The Creators Project, was shot in Philadelphia from the perspective of a bouncing ball using helicam technology.
Second single "I'll Be Alright" was released on June 12, 2012. It received exposure being featured on the critically acclaimed video game FIFA 13 soundtrack, and received "Best New Track" status by Pitchfork Media.
"Constant Conversations" premiered on July 9, 2012. It was released as the third single from the album in July 2012. Constant Conversations was reviewed and featured as "best new track" by Pitchfork. It was released with the review as streamed content. American rapper Juicy J officially remixed Constant Conversations. The remix still features the vocals of Angelakos, however the song structure was rearranged.
Carried Away was released as the fourth single from the album in 2013. The music video, directed by Brewer, was released on February 14, 2013. It featured American actress, director, and spokesperson Sophia Bush.
Gossamer received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 36 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan commented that Angelakos' "ability to create sunlight and sparkle with an arsenal of sequencers and computers remains consistent, and is the album's real point of interest." Russell Warfield of Drowned in Sound opined that "while retaining [the] overactive production style, Angelakos manages to make Gossamer feel more effortlessly human, more like the self-realised artistic vision of an individual than Manners ever came close to being." Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen described Gossamer as "an overwhelming album about being overwhelmed, a bold and ultimately stunning torrent of maximalist musical ideas, repressed anger, and unchecked anxiety." He continued, "Anyone can manufacture hope through a slogan, but there's an empathy and humanity that simply can't be faked as Angelakos tries to figure out how to stay atop his life. It's hard to think of a more noble goal for a pop album." The A.V. Club's Ryan Reed found Gossamer to be "more elegant than its predecessor" and concluded, "Throughout Gossamer, Angelakos sounds broken and confused, wrestling with his demons, cage match-style, on an oversized stage [...] But despite the emphasis on struggle, Gossamer couldn't sound more assured."
James Christopher Monger of Allmusic stated, "Though the environment that birthed the appropriately titled Gossamer may be a bummer, the end product is winningly majestic as it is obviously spun by the most malevolent of spiders." John Calvert of the NME wrote that "one quibble is that Gossamer never really comes down off its Haribo rush, which gets exhausting. That said, when they do ease up, as on the boudoir-funk 'Constant Conversations', it resembles the two-a-penny synthpop that clogs the blogosphere." Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan expressed that the album is "roomier and more varied" than its predecessor Manners. Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot viewed Gossamer as "a soul record disguised as buoyant, uptempo dance-pop. It shares characteristics with The Weeknd's introspective take on R&B, the twisted nostalgia of a Kanye West jam [...] and the stomping relentlessness of a Katy Perry single." Benjamin Aspray of PopMatters felt that the album is "as scrappy, outsize, and infectious as anyone could hope for, and as shrill and cloying as anyone could expect." Sam Walker-Smart of Clash called the album "a colorful twelve-track ode to joy", but noted that "the album's main fault [is] how every track merges into one big goofy smile-a-thon while never delivering a number as exciting as previous hit 'Sleepyhead'." Slant Magazine's Kevin Liedel critiqued that "much of Gossamer plays as though it were constructed (however poorly) from ['Sleepyhead''s] template [...] The band, in effect, seems to be desperately chasing a winning blueprint", adding that apart from the song "Constant Conversations", Gossamer is "true to its name: colorless and precariously thin, with precious few bright spots."
The album was listed at number eighteen on Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2012, and the magazine commented, "Fueled by the confession, guilt, and cathartic honesty of frontman Michael Angelakos, [Gossamer] is one of the most lyrically painful records of 2012. It also happens to be one of the year's most musically euphoric, stacked to the brim with electro-pop." Gigwise named Gossamer the twentieth best album of 2012 and opined, "Rarely has an album been better named; Gossamer is delicate, light, and oh so finely spun. It's despondant while having no time for despondancy; sadness lurks underneath but only to remind us that there are so many other things we could be doing, emotions we could be feeling."
Rolling Stone placed the album at number thirty-nine on its 50 Best Albums of 2012 list and stated it is "shinier, busier and even more hysterically earnest than their debut: Angelakos' falsetto ricochets like laser light, chipper gals coo smoke-machine choruses amid hot electronics and cool string arrangements." PopMatters ranked it at number sixty-six on its list of The 75 Best Albums of 2012, writing that the album's title "speaks volumes about the contents, a thinly veiled peak into the psyche of singer/songwriter Michael Angelokos."
Gossamer debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 37,000 copies, a career best. The album has sold 216,000 copies in the US as of April 2015.
In the United Kingdom, the album sold 2,444 copies to enter the UK Albums Chart at number fifty-six, one position lower than its predecessor, Manners.
All tracks written by Michael Angelakos.