Wait, Is This Really Fitz and the Tantrums?
The most recent album by the LA-based indie-pop band Fitz and the Tantrums is no doubt the musical mind-twist of the summer. Despite being a self-titled album, it gives a “wait…hold on,” type of post-listen reaction. It is guaranteed to leave even the fans that own all the band’s merchandise to question their loyalty. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but with this self-titled album, Fitz and the Tantrums have brought listeners something far from their initial sound.
Going at a three-year interval with album releases, Fitz and the Tantrums is nothing compared to the previous two albums, Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2010) and More Than Just a Dream (2013). With the latter two embracing more of a soul-based indie pop sound, this time around the band went for summery pop without their trademark guitar sounds. “Handclap” kicks off Fitz and the Tantrums, a single released this past March. Man oh man, will this song get your hands clapping along to the beat. The rap-like verses almost leave a Cobra Starship or 3OH!3 impression, accompanied by one hell of a catchy melody with deep bass guitar lines. It’s a perfect indie pop song for the mainstream radio stations. “Complicated” describes a love-hate relationship perfectly in a pop-manner interrupted with a cheer shout-out at the riff. “Burn It Down” features the female vocals of Noelle Scaggs and has strong piano-chord based beats similar to those of Foster the People.
Featuring Matt and Kim style up-tempo drum beats, “Roll Up” is a retro summer hit. Almost a pop-reggae song, it makes a very catchy use of wind flute sounds in the main melody. “Tricky” sounds similar to the dark synth sounds of second album of Twenty One Pilots Blurryface. Wait till the chorus to get into this track for that’s when it gets good. Getting back in touch with their initial funk-rock style, “Get Right Back” has a predictable 80s melody.
The second half of the album from around “Fadeback” leaves listeners with less funky-indie surprises, but more of a sense of what the Fitz and the Tantrums could be as a mainstream pop band. “Fadeback” and “Run It” are both enjoyable pop numbers but can get a bit repetitive. “Walking Target” has more of the indie-rock feel with clapping beats bringing it closer to the bands initial style. “A Place for Us” finishes up the album on a steady tempo with a sweet message.
Sure, the band did stray away from its initial funk-pop indie style for this album, Fitz and the Tantrums. However, it doesn’t necessarily make it a weak effort. The 11-track album in whole makes for an extremely catchy summer album along with some notable tracks. Nothing is wrong with that. Those familiar with the band may question as to why the album is self-titled and, with the loss of their initial sound, it may not seem appropriate to name it so. It’s an experimental album which is always fun, but this mainstream pop may not be the direction Fitz and the Tantrums should be heading in. The album is to surely capture the hearts of a wider audience as it has a more appealing pop sound. However, if this is the way they are going style-wise for future albums, it would be a very sad and a wasteful move to see the band shed itself of its unique musical personality. Personally speaking, a combination of these two styles for upcoming albums would be musical heaven for the ears. Nevertheless, Fitz and the Tantrums is a great catchy listen worth listening to in full.