Divine Fits may be an indie supergroup, but they sound a lot less like their other bands than one would expect. Comprising Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs), and Sam Brown (The New Bomb Turks), there is some unavoidable familiarity (both Daniel and Boeckner have fairly identifiable voices), but overall A Thing Called Divine Fits treads ground not explored by their individual projects.
Perhaps the most surprising thing is the album’s overarching synth-filled 80s vibe. Lead track/single “My Love Is Real” did an excellent job of raising the flag to this fact, but expectations got in the way of realizing this would be the band’s modus operandi. Album favorites “Baby Get Worse” and “For Your Heart” further typify the sound – “Baby Get Worse” is diggable with its thick shimmy and danceable yet sullen “For Your Heart” is perfectly capped with a lovely guitar line at its end.
Despite the overall likability of A Thing Called Divine Fits, it’s got its imperfections. “Shivers” quickly becomes boring as it becomes clear that the song never really goes anywhere. “Like Ice Cream” takes a small step up by using vocals as part of the rhythm section, but it too seems out of place after the largely electronic-influenced rest of the album.
The good does far outweigh the boring, though, and there’s no doubt that the live pedigree of Daniel’s and Boeckner’s bands will make for an electric live show. What makes you shoulder shimmy in your seat on record will surely make you get up and dance in person.
A Thing Called Divine Fits drops 08.28.12.
Find out more by visiting the official Divine Fits website.
Superchunk – Digging for Something (shiny and new)
The So So Glos – Fred Astaire (these punks sure clean up nice)
La Sera – Never Come Around (a Vivian Girl gets vicious)
Violens – Violent Sensation Descends (if life was more like Rosemary’s Baby)
Frankie Rose & The Outs – Candy (if life was more like Carrie)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Bright Lit Blue Skies (a sunnier vision of the future past)
Moondoggies – Empress of the North (quiet animation)
Foals – 2 Trees (puppy [?] puppets)
Sarah Jaffe – Clementine (beauty abound)
Wolf Parade – Yulia (forget-me-cosmonaut)
Like their previous release, At Mount Zoomer, Wolf Parade‘s Expo 86 is mostly fantastic with a few tracks that, while not bad, are not as gripping as the rest. Fortunately for us all, Expo 86 is front-loaded with dance-ready kick that eases into a slow burn.
Synth-heavy and 80s vibes abound, the songs on the album are at once filled with energy and tinged with melancholy. “Palm Road” is a perfect example; while dark, it still makes you want to dance. Also of note are “Little Golden Age” (the first-listen favorite) and single “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)”. The lyrics of the latter are at times striking, and one phrase is downright novel-worthy: “I wonder if all the beaches / in all your holiday towns / will turn into giant shining earrings against the cheek of the sea / when finally this supernova goes down.” Gorgeous.
While the beginning of Expo 86 breeds excitement, the latter loses steam. There’s cohesion among the halves, due to the basic instrumentation and vocalist Spenser Krug’s distinctive delivery, but the tracks lack the memorable punch that so captures listeners in the beginning.
The final blow comes with closer “Cave-O-Sapien”, which recalls Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” to the point of distraction (seriously – play WP @ 3:52, then BI @ :38). However, it may all be with a wink, a nod, and a stroke of genius from Wolf Parade, as Stereogum reported that Krug’s main criterion for the songs was whether or not he would dance to them. While all the songs may not strike my fancy, it doesn’t matter – Krug and company are going to dance anyway.
Expo 86 drops 06.29.10.
More on Wolf Parade at their Sub Pop artist page.
Download “What Did My Lover Say” and “Ghost Pressure” by right-clicking.