by R. Gunnesseuf
Like many of us, the first song by Fitz and the Tantrums that I ever heard was “Out of my League.” This catchy tune, with its poppy alternative hook and relate-able lyrics wedged itself into my brain deep enough that I needed to check out their other music. In doing this I became captivated by both ‘More than Just a Dream’ and, their first album, ‘Pickin’ Up the Pieces.’ I read the bands history and had an amazing time playing through their entire library on repeat and learning the band’s backstory as well as the deeper meanings behind many of their songs.
After ‘The Walker’ and ‘Fools Gold’ made their way to the charts and a couple years passed, I started wondering when a new album would be coming out. After months of periodically checking for any news on this matter, I was delighted to find that this self titled album would be released June 10th, 2016 (over two months away). As the time wound down, I pre-ordered the album and, of course, added ‘Hand Clap’ to my listening rotation. Though very catchy and fun, I was worried that the the rest of the album might be as lyrically limiting, more pop themed and less about the instruments than their previous two albums.
Finally, June 10th is here and I have now listened to the album in full. What I can say is that some of my worry was justified. As I listened through the album I kept waiting to hear anything
resembling a groovy baseline, sax, Noelle Skaggs, anything to break away from the electronically altered vocals and dance vibes that make up this album. That time never came. While some small parts of a few songs on the latter half of the album feature some jazzy flare, it is not frequent enough to have much of an impact on the song. The first half of the Album features songs very similar in sound to ‘Hand Calp’ and I am sure some of these will make their way to radio.
Overall, while wanting something a bit different, I have enjoyed the record. While their are less instruments truly featured on this album that stand out, lyrical quality has not slipped. Also, I am sure that seeing them live, the instruments will be on point. Fits and the Tantrums have a way with taking a pop hook and jazzing it up enough to reach a large amount of musical tastes. One of my favorite things about following a band is listening to how they change album to album and hearing them grow. Doing this is an opportunity to change yourself as well. Grow with the artisit. If you are like me, then sometimes it takes a few listens to really appreciate an album. I feel like after a few times listening through, my appreciation will grow. While this record is not what I hoped for, it is a good listen and could change what I hope for next time.
If you are a first time listener, start here and work your way back. If you have heard some of their stuff or maybe don’t like the stuff you have heard, I highly recommend going back to their first album.