Fitz and The Tantrums

August 31st, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

For some bands, it takes a lifetime to build this success, but few performers deliver an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers like Fitz and the Tantrums. Fitz and the Tantrums have resurrected a sound that’s been dormant for decades: the blues of a 1970’s love affair. It all started with a neglected vintage organ, and since then they’ve been keepin’ it real like it’s 1969. The organ became a driving force for the front man, Fitz, and helped him to find his voice. When his ex-girlfriend called him about the old organ, he knew exactly what to write about. It inspired him to compose the breakup song, “Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” which is also the title of the album.

The song immediately hits you with the uplifting groove from organ, flute and bass. Fitz laments about love lost during the first verse, then Noelle Scaggs joins him for one of the many duets throughout the album. Fitz makes it clear that Scaggs is not just a background singer, but a soul-singing force to be reckoned with. The duo sing together like they were a couple with a love affair, which strengthens the lyrics and the music.

The theme of the album is essentially that of an angry breakup, but the music creates an upbeat trance meant for the dance floor. Fitz is fed up with all the drama and he wants you to shake it like you don’t give a damn anymore. This reckless attitude is especially prominent in songs like “News 4 U” with the chorus lyrics, “I got news for you/ It’s goin’ down/ Before you come home and tell me/ That you’re not angry/ I’ll be leavin’ town.” The clash of defiant lyrics and infectious groove is irresistible to any listener. The only song that steps outside the theme is the foot-stomper “Dear Mr. President” that calls attention to the failing economy and tells the President to take action. Overall, this album is getting two thumbs up from me. I am really impressed with this unique sound, which is very defined and well organized. Every song on the CD is infectious and I can’t get enough of this band. If you like what you hear, be sure to see them when they play at Ottobar on September 23rd!

Grade: 5 out of 5

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