A group hailing from Los Angeles California, Fitz and the Tantrums have already garnered much critical acclaim and appeal in 2010 with their heralded debut, Pickin’ Up the Pieces. Their unique, fun, and colourful sound launched them a spot as the openers for a Maroon 5 tour across the United States. Rolling Stone called them “a band to watch” in 2011 and three years later, the flamboyant group have released their anticipated sophomore record, More Than Just A Dream, and it seems that despite their extensive touring and media cycle of multiple late night talk show appearances that Fitz and the Tantrums are showing no signs of slowing down and that they are just getting started.
The band’s lead, Michael Fitzpatrick, has loosely defined their band as “soul-influenced indie pop” and also, wished to create music that stayed away from more traditional methods; such as a total absence of any sort of guitar throughout any of his music. Now, when some groups lack prominent traditional ‘band’ instruments like guitars, their sound can sometimes feel a little empty or as if they are missing something, or at the very least, quite noticeable. This is certainly not the case for Fitz and the Tantrums. Throughout More Than Just A Dream, layers of thundering, mountainous percussion provides a solid, guiding backbone as keys and synthesizer sprinkles, sparkles, whirls and twirls, as well as playfully leads hooks and melodies. Not only that, but appearances made by saxophone and trumpet help propel the underlying soul vibe that Fitzpatrick had mentioned. The music sounds full of energy, excitement, emotion, and never leaves you with a dull moment. Fitzpatrick has a slick and theatrical, as well as a very expansive, vocal tone with a voice that is quite similar to The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. Fitzpatrick’s voice is also consistently mirrored and accented with vocals from Noelle Scaggs who really emphasizes the soul influence and really adds the sound’s overall aesthetic and feel.
Fitz and the Tantrums have a very intriguing knack for blending sounds of the past such as 70’s disco and a lot of soul with more electronic, indie charm and sensibility of the present and it creates a sound that offers so much variety in song structure in a single record. More Than Just A Dream sounds like a lot of familiar and comfortable ingredients skillfully put together and comes out as something that surely stands out. It is an album where if you like it, you will end up loving it. If not, well it is sort of an acquired taste but nevertheless, it a very interesting listen at the very least.