Home Album Reviews SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS – FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS

SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS – FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS

by Robert Defina
Fitz And The Tantrums

Fitz And The Tantrums
Fitz And The Tantrums
Elektra Records
RATING

Fitz and the Tantrums have lost it.

The vibrant artistry found on their debut record, Pickin Up the Pieces, slowly faded on the sophomore release, More Than Just a Dream, which was still a catchy, somewhat worthy follow up. The original record still stands as a fantastic piece of Motown revival, which makes it especially hard to see a band so clearly full of talent regress like this.

On their self-titled third record, Fitz and the Tantrums have lost everything about themselves that used to shine. If diamonds are made from coal, it might be argued here that the reverse is also true. Whatever kind of disaster led to these 11 hopeless tracks is career-killing for this once-great band. The songs are aimless attempts at catchy, Pop Radio hooks but they don’t even manage to muster a sense of familiarity to that kind of success either. The lead single “HandClap” is catchy in the most annoying of ways – the kind of song you roll your eyes at for having stuck in your head. Peppered throughout Fitz and the Tantrums are fickle attempts at instrumental creativity; synth drum progressions on “Get Right Back,” staccato grooves on “Fadeback,” and some electronic horns on “Do What You Want.” All of these, though, are drowned out by a production committed to lowering the talent of this band to its least impressive form. The biggest qualm that exists with this record is that it isn’t just a sellout, but it’s an unimpressive sellout. If the tunes at least had some sense of artistry attached to them, there would be no need to so cruelly dismantle this effort. However, the cheesy “oh oh”s and terribly arranged vocal effects all crash and burn throughout the entire 11-track duration. It is not uncommon for bands to devolve as they go along (see: Maroon 5) but Fitz and the Tantrums have gone so far backwards that what they’ve now produced has become unlistenable.

For a group that showed so much promise back in 2010, there is nothing to take away from this horribly unfitting self-titled debut, which should be named something else for the sake of the band’s integrity. It is strange to think that, after their first two records, Fitz and the Tantrums could be pleased with their final product here. Without going too far into hyperbolic criticisms, it is appropriate to say this record is the kind of music that makes a lot of artists despise mainstream efforts. While hope for the band to bounce back will likely stay alive, it seems their grip on whatever they were capable of once is long gone, and this may mark the end of Fitz and the Tantrums’ musical relevance.

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