7.8

Fitz and The Tantrums: More Than Just A Dream

Music  |  Reviews
Text
Fitz and The Tantrums: <i>More Than Just A Dream</i>

On their debut album, 2010’s Pickin’ Up the Pieces, Fitz and the Tantrums were retro-soul revivalists with new-wave panache. It was an all-killer, hooks-galore smash, built on the band’s roomy Wrecking Crew grooves and the sassy sexual tension of co-vocalists “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. Their hi-fi sequel More than Just a Dream flips the script, drawing out their ‘80s synth fetish. But to label it a “throwback” album would be short-sighted: Working with producer Tony Hoffer, the band bounces giddily through the last half-century of pop music, from Motown to synth-pop, from early hip-hop to campy indie-bombast. Whatever it is, it’s a front-to-back kaleidoscope behemoth that signals the band’s ambition to dominate commercial radio.

This kind of album is a dying breed—the kind where every single track wants to be a single, even the ballads; the kind that gets catchier and weirder with every spin. Hoffer’s presence is crucial: As a mixer and producer (Beck, Phoenix, M83), he’s able to maximize a band’s quirkiness even as he maximizes their grandiosity. Where the first Fitz album was recorded in the singer’s living room, mostly written on a creaky upright piano, Just a Dream is a polished studio document. And if there’s one band who could use a grander, more overblown stage, it’s Fitz and the Tantrums, who sound positively re-born in the glitz and grandeur. “The Walker” is a Frankenstein-style anthem, moving from a whistled hook to a four-on-the-floor electro-bounce to a nasty sax-and-handclap breakdown; “6am” is a slimy synth-funk miracle; “Fools Gold” is a laughably huge belter, built on thundering timpani and skittering drum machines—besting fun. at their own epic game.

More than Just a Dream is poised for prime time, a diabetic coma of sugar-rush pop.

Sign up for the Paste newsletter Get our daily summary of the day's top articles and new items. Sign Up Thank you! Your email address has been added to our list. You will begin receiving our newsletter within 48 hours.

Paste Magazine example 1 Paste Magazine example 2 Paste Magazine example 3