Fitz & the Tantrums: Pickin' Up the Pieces (Dangerbird) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the YouthFitz & The Tantrums

Pickin’ Up the Pieces


Aug 26, 2010 Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth Bookmark and Share

Blue-eyed soul band Fitz & the Tantrums haven’t just dipped a toe in the retro-funk pool-they’ve dove in head first, dapper suits and all. Judging by debut full-length Pickin’ Up the Pieces, they’ll be happily swimming along for some time to come.

While adding nothing new to genre, the conviction they bring to the table makes it well worth the listen. The hooks cast don’t always feel sharp enough (the titular track in particular squeaks by on formula rather than freshness), but when they hit, they hit hard. “MoneyGrabber’s” sparse piano and stripped down verses open up to a particularly satisfying horn-driven chorus. “L.O.V.” combines the irresistible forces of clapping and spelling. Meanwhile, the slow-burning groove of “Rich Girls” hangs on leadman Michael Fitzpatrick’s delicious swagger. While lacking the road-tested wisdom of Sharon Jones or the screwed-up verisimilitude of Amy Winehouse, Fitzpatrick’s vocal determination and self-willed sex appeal is not to be underestimatedeven if it’s often squandered on tired romantic metaphors.

While up-tempo numbers go down smoothly, ballads still constitute a major weak spot, particularly album closer “Tighter.” Meant to be an emotional plea, its understated instrumentation only manages to lull the listener into an indifferent slumber. Still, while decidedly not a perfect outing, their natural charm and self-confidence bodes well for future efforts. (

Author rating: 7/10

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