Electro-pop has the been one the trickiest genres for bands to navigate. It's very exclusive with music bloggers, many of whom are fiercely loyal to pre-2007 bands like The Killers or Phoenix and are quick to accuse new acts of ripping off their elders. If you want to be a new band and do electro-pop, you have two options. You can use a weird vocal approach to help yourself stand out - maybe extreme highs or radio filters (see Passion Pit). The other option is to corrupt your songs with an almost annoying amount of focus on your chorus for the sake of radio play (see Foster The People). These are not necessarily bad things to do, but they seem to be an either/or proposition for any relatively new electro-pop band.
Then we have The Pass - classically trained jazz musicians who decided they simply wanted to make people dance without sacrificing musicianship. The vocals belong to an adult (no child-like vocal effects) who can hit tough notes, and the band plays catchy, yet sonically intelligent melodies. The drummer is so solid that when writing about the last record, Burst, many people thought it was mostly drum machine (the reality was that he did it all - in full takes - in studio.) Sadly, The Pass are hurt by their array of sweeping influences, from Passion Pit to The Cure to the Killers to Cut Copy to LCD Soundsystem. If they would just do one, they would be on a major label right now, but they refuse to make any other music than what sounds good to them.
Another "flaw" of The Pass is that they have never branded themselves as something they're not or created controversy to fuel context. Over the past two weeks I've heard more about Michael Angelakos and his mental problems than I've heard actual analysis of the record. Same with Twin Shadow two weeks before that. The Pass need to make such a move, but they never will. The guys are more professional than that, and more focused on letting the music speak for itself, on reinventing how people look at electro-pop. Yes, its first priority will always be to make people dance, but that doesn't mean it can't also be smart, solid music, capable of standing on its own merits beyond the dance floor. If the first track off The Pass' second LP, Melt, is any indication, "Without Warning" proves this is possible.