A Thing Called Divine Fits

Divine Fits

Merge Records, 2012

http://divinefits.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/05/2013

As a general rule, I feel supergroups rarely live up to the hype surrounding them. Not that they aren't usually great bands, but all the buzz and praise often makes me end up expecting more. While I don't want to point any fingers, I'm sure every music fan has been let down by the much anticipated all-star group that just didn't quite deliver. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Then there's Divine Fits. Though there wasn't a nauseating amount of publicity about this all-star outfit (thankfully), there certainly was plenty of buzz about just how fantastic this project could be. With a line up of Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Wolfparade/Handsome Furs, Alex Fishchel from PAPA, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks fame, indie and punk fans were instantly drooling at the mere idea of this songwriting combination.

Daniel and Boeckner trade off on vocals here, and while each member brings their respective influences to the party, Spoon definitely comes off as this project’s closest musical resemblance, though with a heavy synth slant. Lead off track “My Love Is Real” shows a New Wave influence matched with a garage rock template and is probably the best representation of the band's sound. Of course, they're far from a one trick pony. “What That Not Be Nice” has psyche rock tendencies, “What Gets You Alone” emits a Motown beat, and “Civilian Stripes” is a stripped-down, folksy tune.

Though on the surface, this is a highly dance friendly pop album, dig a bit deeper and you'll find post-punk leanings and charged, guitar driven rockers like the very Spoon-ish “Flaggin' A Ride.” Using repetition and minimalism to their advantage, there is a tremendous amount of diversity here for the in-depth listener; tracks like “The Salton Sea” and the nearly instrumental closer “Neopolitans” both sound unlike anything else included here.

This is a debut album that lives up to all the talk. Divine Fits knows how to pen strong pop and rock melodies that work well with '80s nods and raw, retro garage stabs. Sounding both retro and contemporary, the pop sensibilities and sharp songcraft have me hoping this will become more than just a one-off project.

Rating: B

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