Passion play

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

First and foremost, Passion Pit are superb songwriters. Under all their blips, beats and synthesizer swells, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, dance-pop combo lays a foundation of tunes that pass that age-old test - would it still sound good on an acoustic guitar?

Fortunately, the group doesn't strip its music down that far. There's nothing minimal about debut EP Chunk of Change; the six-song set finds Passion Pit pimping out its tracks with all manner of gadgets and gizmos, garnishing every last hook with electric sparkles and laser beams.

Atop all the sassy synth riffs and samples, Michael Angelakosis stretches his voice from precious whisper to shameless falsetto. His vocals never sound forced, even as they cast a net wide enough to capture Postal Service fans and disco devotees in equal measure.

Last year's critical darlings, Cut Copy, are a fitting parallel. That group updated New Order's sound for today, building ice castles of precise production around songs with warm, beating hearts. Passion Pit pulls off a similar trick with a less dour, more playful disposition.

After all, the band took its name from an old porno flick, and Angelakosis wrote these songs as a sexy Valentine's Day present for his girlfriend. So it makes sense that there's no grim pronouncement of a "Heart on Fire" here; with these songs, it's the loins.

What: Passion Pit

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30

Where: The Summit, Campus