Indie rock super group alert!
For those that haven’t heard, Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and Sam Brown of the New Bomb Turks formed a band called Divine Fits a bit ago. On August 28th people will be able to buy the much anticipated project from the trio, which it times sounds interesting, and at times sounds ordinary. Full disclosure, I have raised expectations for a project like this, given that I am a huge Wolf Parade fan, and like both Spoon and Handsome Furs very much, so what I was looking for was something special. The result is an album of 10 songs that carry chromosomes from all 3 bands, however, there is no mystery as to whether the milk man paid mom a visit, leaving a surprise for us all. Most of the songs on A Thing Called Divine Fits dabble in the mid-tempo arena, taking the edge off of Boeckner’s original outfit Wolf Parade, but at times pushes Daniel’s comfort zone with his band Spoon. There are electronic elements sprinkled throughout the album, though never becoming overbearing to the point where we think we are listening to a Devo album. These guys after all know their way around a guitar.
Album opener, ‘My Love Is Real’ is clearly a track that fits in Boeckner’s comfort zone. It’s a haunting electronic track sounding like something that belongs on a Handsome Furs album, and is the band’s first single interestingly enough, considering it doesn’t introduce much of Daniel at all. Second track ‘Flaggin A Ride’ is sung by Daniel, and sounds like the most Spoon-like song on the album to me. It works though, it’s funky, and a little bit dirty, which is a good thing. Third track, ‘What Gets You Alone’ is the first time where we see the collaboration really mix. There is a frantic Wolf Parade-like edge to the song that sounds like it is a combination of both front man’s bands, and is led by Boeckner’s tense vocal style. To me, it’s one of the more interesting songs on the album. ‘Would That Not Be Nice’ is Spoon by the numbers. Not to say it’s bad, just nothing refreshingly interesting or new. ‘Salton Sea’ is a miss. The song meanders with an electronic pulse that goes nowhere for 4 plus minutes. ‘Baby Gets Worse’ sounds like something that didn’t make a Wolf Parade album, but would be an interesting song for a Spoon album given the bands contrasting styles. ‘Civilian Stripes’ is the most stripped down song on the album, basically Boeckner singing over a Spoon-esque acoustic guitar, interlaced with some twinkling of the piano keys. Simple, but it works. ‘Shivers’ is a slow burning track that is led by Daniel that eventually reaches for the rafters in a sludgy sort of fashion. It’s probably the most different sounding thing on the album, mainly because it lacks obvious influence from either of the guys’ bands.
All in all, there are certainly some good songs on this album, but I am here to give me honest assessment, and would say that there are far more interesting albums in 2012 to listen to. Fans of spoon in particular are probably going to like the collaboration, as Daniel’s songwriting seems to be the strongest influence here. Vocals seem to be shared pretty evenly though I didn’t count, and it’s just not that important anyway as both guys can lead. I guess my raised expectations might be getting in the way, as I thought the band could get even more creative musically. Both Daniel and Boeckner have a natural ability with their vocals to convey urgency and passion with their normal outfits, however, that seems to be lacking in this project for the most part. There isn’t but a couple moments where I am intrigued beyond casual listening, and ultimately Divine Fits end up sounding safe.