There are two ways of looking at The Pass’s new release, Burst. One is rather positive while the other is definitely less so. But let’s start with the upsides first.
I’m pretty sure The Pass sound are a couple of guys with pretty solid music taste. They sound like they picked up a bunch of great records and said, “Hey, we can do this, too!” The result is a familiar-sounding record, one that will sit comfortably in your library without standing out too much. A series of pleasant tracks (perhaps lacking a strong middle section and perhaps a bit verbose in just about every song) really give Burst an “album feel” as something you can listen to front to back. The familiarity here makes for a really cozy album that you can’t help but enjoy sometimes.
However, and you might have sensed this coming, The Pass’s familiar sound isn’t without its setbacks. Lying somewhere between Franz Ferdinand and Cut Copy on the music spectrum, The Pass are faintly reminiscent of just about everyone. The opening track throws Animal Collective and Cut Copy at you, while Vultures captures you with friendly and rather generic Phil Collins disco beats. Criminal feels a bit like a toned-down School of Seven Bells with some MGMT chucked at it. Out of Hand is definitely a shout out to old Bloc Party and some Morning Benders lines and Local Natives licks make an appearance later in the album. Despite desperately making a case for themselves to be the safest-sounding and most anonymous band in the world with absolutely nothing new and exciting here except maybe new combinations, the Pass still sound like their own band.
They pop up on shuffle and somehow you still recognize them. The Pass can either be enjoyed as a comfortable-like-a-worn-in-armchair-band or perhaps rightly left alone for their blatant unoriginality. I personally lean towards the former of the two and I have realized that, while sometimes it’s nice to hear bands taking risks and branching out into new sounds, sometimes we can enjoy a band marching right behind them picking up the pieces.