Wednesday, December 12, 2012

43. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge)

Divine Fits, if you don't know, is a supergroup / side-project (delete as appropriate, depending which term you think is least pejorative) featuring Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks.

Daniel and Boeckner are a pair of tightly wound songwriters, and they've totally avoided the pitfalls of ego-clash and indulgent showiness that can befall typical supergroups. You might expect a group comprised of three members of other groups might sound divergent and pull in different directions, but actually Divine Fits sounds like a band; a really cool band at that, the kind of band that hangs out in a big garage together, playing rock music, drinking beer, and kicking back. Even the album's name feels like a working title, like something they scribbled on the booking form at the rehearsal rooms or recording studio and kept because it seemed cool.

To me, as a big Spoon fan who's not that familiar with Boeckner's work, A Thing Called Divine Fits sounds a lot like a latter-day Spoon record with a synthesizer. If that seems reductive, it's fair to say it's a very reductive album; sophisticatedly minimal and controlled. But it's clearly a more collaborative affair than you might imagine: songwriting credits reveal that it's not just as simple as Britt and Sam playing a Dan song, or Dan and Sam playing a Britt song; some songs feature music by one writer, lyrics another, some are split between all three, and others are seemingly brought to the table ready-written by their singers. They've got chemistry, and their aesthetics (not a million miles apart, to be fair) mesh perfectly.

The repetitive beats and minimal, catchy New Wave synth hooks of opener 'My Love Is Real' flow nicely into the ticking riffs and muttering, unobtrusive guitar solo (if you can call it that) of 'Flaggin' A Ride'. A stomping Motown beat opens 'What Gets You Alone'; pretty much sans synths, it's all about the guitars for once. It sounds like Dan Boeckner singing a Spoon song, and if you check the writing credits, that's pretty much what it is.

via The Quietus

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