Married after his group's previous album, Gossamer, having split from prior bandmates, and appearing in a PSA about the importance of his having sought professional help for his bipolar disorder, frontman Michael Angelakos presents a gratitude-imbued, relatively ballad-heavy, but still sparkling third Passion Pit LP in Kindred. In no great shift from the distinctive sound of previous records, it is, if anything, even more sugary in the synth palette and high end, as on the lullaby-leaning tones and melody of the candy-lacquered, ultra-falsettoed "Dancing on the Grave." Requisite redwood-sized beats and quirky noise doodles are also aboard, with strong reflections of '80s Scritti Politti trebles shining through, particularly on the playful "Five Foot Ten (I)." The ballad "Where the Sky Hangs" represents a softer side with rare sparsity, though still has Passion Pit's triple-rainbow impact, including cartoon kerplops and outer space vibes. Angelakos' skepticism and dark introspection are also intact, if slightly tempered. "All I Want" is a sweet love serenade with off-kilter keyboard interjections that acknowledges feeling a step from disaster: "And with one motion it could all go wrong/If I'm emotional it'll ruin it all/Then the roof will cave in and fall to the ground." On "Lifted Up (1985)," he's jubilant ("1985 was a good year/The sky broke apart then you appeared") but also "tired" and "beaten," and "Until We Can't (Let's Go)" lets loose on the dancefloor while sounding formulated for arena sports licensing ("Let's go!"), until one notices the lyrics are about things going wrong and needing a change of environs ("How much can we take before we both break down?"). "Five Foot Ten (I)" unexpectedly serves up the reverse with the endearing reveal, "All alone/I wanna be all alone/Alone with you." A song in part about singing, "Ten Feet Tall (II)" makes for a goofy closer with its (as is often the case) completely unnecessary Auto-Tune, especially when Angelakos starts riffing on it, but maybe that's the point: Don't always be serious, and value the lightness when the good gets going. Kindred expresses a version of hesitant romance where disaster lurks but may not be inevitable, and where the moment is everything; "Let's go 'til we can't." A cartload of sugar helps the anxiety go down in the most irresistible Passion Pit way, or something like that.
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AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson