ALBUM REVIEW: “A Thing Called Divine Fits” by Divine Fits

August 28. 2012 | By Mayumi Okamoto

Divine Fits
A Thing Called Divine Fits
[Merge Records]

Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner, and Sam Brown are all successful seasoned musicians in their own right. The formation of super group Divine Fits sparked intrigue and stirred up speculation about whether a band could be more than the sum of its talent. Speculation ends with the release of the band’s debut album appropriately titled A Thing Called Divine Fits. The verdict? Just short of divine.

The eleven track album is equal parts Spoon frontman Daniel as it is Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs contributor Boeckner, who each take turns in the lead vocal role throughout. With two such distinct vocalists, this division of labor plays tricks on your ears and can bias the way the listener hears the song – for instance with “Would That Not Be Nice,” Daniel’s vocals paired with the musical arrangement can con you into thinking that you’re listening to Spoon’s latest single. By that same token however, what A Thing Called Divine Fits does have is an eclectic aesthetic from new wave revival (“Baby Get Worse” and “The Salton Sea”), to the stripped down (“Civilian Stripes”), to an updated version of Boys Next Door‘s “Shivers.”

Daniel, Boeckner, and Brown’s first effort together will likely be a feisty contender for a spot on many Best of 2012 lists this year. Each of the tracks on the album could solidly and confidently stand alone as a hit single, but the tracks’ distinction leads to an album whose aftertaste lacks cohesion — and that lack of cohesion is what holds A Thing Called Divine Fits back from greatness.

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