Fitz and the Tantrums: More Than Just a Dream

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Posted June 5, 2013 by in Indie pop
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

4.5/ 5

Details

Genre: ,
 
Producer:
 
Label:
 
 
 
 
Genre: Indie pop, soul
 
Producer: Tony Hoffer
 
Label: Elektra
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
 
Time: 43:08
 
Release Date: 7 May 2013
 
Spin This: "Fools Gold," "6am," "More Than Just a Dream," "The End"
 

Pros:

Retro '80's vibes, Florence + the Machine mechanics, Motown voyages and neo-soul blemishes create a wonderful palette for L.A. band; songwriting and production just as electric
 

Cons:

Hardly anything to complain about, except for their yearning to sound nostalgic
 

Indie rock, H&O pop and r&b merge together for a befitting journey into what resembles the future of progressive soul

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Indie rock, H&O pop and r&b merge together for a befitting journey into what resembles the future of progressive soul

Mixing indie rock with remnants of a deprived neo-soul seems like a hard sell on the modern-day music buyer, but it’s catching on for the L.A. band Fitz and the Tantrums. After their debut release of Pickin’ Up the Pieces in 2010, rocketing to the top of the Heatseekers’ chart, Elektra – the homebase for Cee Lo Green and Bruno Mars – signed them up for the next round. As the opening tour act for Bruno Mars, Michael Fitzpatrick and his five-member unit are on a crusade to promote their second offering, More Than Just a Dream. They continue their trek into crossover soul, but expand their territory to include celestial overlays that perfectly match their musical assignment. “Out of My League,” the disguised title track, drops Foster the People-like dub vocals and Beach Boy harmonies on a dreamy palette of New Wave. “Break the Walls” and “MerryGoRound” both play with Florence + the Machine soul, while Motown-esque burners like “The Walker,” “Get Away” and “The End” continues their pilgrimage into timeless traditions. And then the Eurythmics-feeling “Fools Gold” shimmers with pop magnificence. Their use of glowing harmonies and instantly sing-a-long “ooh” chants seems to filter through the bulk of their performances, creating a brand of soul bubbling with mass appeal. That is highly evidenced on “Spark,” a track that feels like Bruno Mars aboard the Stax train. Of all the delightful tunes assembled, “6am” proves to be the album’s feature presentation as it fires up a mesmeric duet with Noelle Scaggs in the same fashion Steve Winwood and Chaka collided on “Higher Love.” Instead the two are synchronized like a Sam & Dave combo. Shrouded with choral epiphanies, the two sing at each other about a love falling from their grips: “Our love song’s on the radio/But these words I hear they’re not for me, no.” The stew that is More Than Just a Dream continues to overflow with flavor when they fire up Hall & Oates urban beats (ala “Adult Education”) into the bonus track remix of “Out of My League.”

Thanks to the imaginative helpings of producer Tony Hoffer (M83, Phoenix, Foster the People), the album sets sail through a wonderful kaleidoscope of soul that’s fluffed up with high-grade sophistication. And in the wake of retro billed acts like Mayer Hawthorne, Cee Lo Green and Bruno Mars trying to put soul back on the market, Fitz and the Tantrums does a splendid job in fusing more alternative styles into their craft, creating a consumable amalgam that gives them their own identity.

 


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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