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Divine Fits, ‘A Thing Called Divine Fits’ – Album Review

A Thing Called Divine Fits
Merge

Let’s go ahead and say it: supergroup, supergroup, supergroup. The goofy (and great) term gets bandied about (or coolly avoided) in any mention of Divine Fits, the Voltron formed by Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner, New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown and keyboardist Alex Fischel. Their first project, the bluntly titled ‘A Thing Called Divine Fits,’ feels much more together than your average rookie effort — owing to the fact these are accomplished musicians playing here.

The Fits, then, are a convergence of four groups at once, most intensely in the two men sharing vocal duties. Daniel — or, if you have a crush on him, Britt — has established himself as one of the most talented and consistent dudes in the indie rock game, as Spoon have been seeing commercial success for more than 10 years. Though Wolf Parade were one of the strongest bands around at the end of the last decade, they’re now on indefinite hiatus, and with his husband-and-wife duo Handsome Furs no more, Boeckner is, how do you say, ripe for a collaboration.

The traded vocals work well, and the songwriting is as crisp and intelligent in either frontman’s catalog. Opener ‘My Love Is Real’ has a knockdown, nonchalant chorus — “My love is real / Until is stops” — and the verses dotting ‘Like Ice Cream’ are Bukowski-esque barroom poetry: “She shows you her wounds / And you think that you know her well.” While undoubtedly ear candy, the album sometimes feels more like a Daniel project than anything else, and ‘Flaggin’ a Ride’ and ‘Would That Not Be Nice’ feel like they could have been mid-album tracks on Spoon’s 2007 disc ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.’

The band is most deeply Divine Fits — whatever that might mean — when building the New Wave-influenced pop rock that runs like a red thread through each member’s previous work: Fischel’s keyboards are foreboding booms on the urgent ‘For Your Heart,’ while ’80s-pop introspection animates ‘What Gets You Alone.’ There’s a slice of radio-rock perfection in the geographically specific chorus (“My heart was beating in Atlanta time”) of ‘Baby Gets Worse,’ while the guys show range in ‘Neopolitans,’ a sweeping electronic experiment of a closer.

Catchy and concise, ‘A Thing Called Divine Fits’ marks the arrival of a group that is, well, pretty super.

 

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