Album Review: Fitz and the Tantrums

Written by on June 14, 2016


Fitz and the Tantrums is the self-titled third studio album from the indie pop group Fitz and the Tantrums. While the band ambitiously messes with its sound, the sound itself might not be for everyone – including past fans.

Fitz and the Tantrums has had rousing success since their arrival in 2010, gaining a dedicated fanbase. Fans of the band have latched onto the neo soul and indie pop influences.

The lead singer of the band, Michael Fitzpatrick, has been open about how the band tries new sounds and influences with each album. With this album, the band fully dives into pop abyss. Repetitive hooks construct the chorus of each of the 11 songs on the album, and dance pop beats are present throughout.

Most have heard the title track, “Handclap,” on TV commercials and sports games. The song is indicative of the album’s overall sound and features a somewhat commercial pop beat with a relatively simple chorus. In fact, the pre-chorus contains more words, as the majority of the actual chorus is instrumental music. But that is ultimately what makes the song catchy and an earworm.

As one continues to listen to the album, the pop influence becomes more apparent. While Michael Fitzpatrick’s voice still has that tinge of soul in it, gone are the soul beats. Tracks like “Fadeback” show just how far the band has gone with the pop sound. The track has a disco feel with techno influences, the two styles melding successfully together.

The transition to pop works for the band. Yes, the dance pop sound might not be innovative. But it is something different and fresh coming from Fitz and the Tantrums. Each song on the album is arguably catchy and fun.

But while the band experiments with their sound, they may be inadvertently dividing their audience. The band started its success due to their callback to classic soul roots. But that soulful influence is largely missing from the new album – not including co-lead singer, Noelle Scaggs.

Fitz and the Tantrums is a catchy album, and it features a band determinedly trying to expand and play with their sound. Fans of the band might not love it, but one can appreciate a band in this day and age trying to take risks with their sound and their craft. Fitz and the Tantrums is a band that still does not play by the rules.

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