Divine Fits ‘A Thing Called Divine Fits' (Merge)
The overused “supergroup” label can often mean one of two things: a messy ego-clash of frontmen from different hotshot bands that doesn't measure up to anyone's expectations, or a meeting of kindred creative minds that satisfies or exceeds everybody's expectations.
Divine Fits is one of those rare side projects that succeed in exceeding. The trio is comprised of Spoon's Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and New Bomb Turks' Dan Boeckner, all of whom share a propensity and enormous talent for creating spare, urgent, percussive alt-pop explorations that are consistently catchy, and lyrics that often delve into the chilly dark side of existence.
Daniel's spiky guitars, rhythmically halting song structures and melodic pop hooks seem to just naturally complement Boeckner's new wave synthesizer stylings from the get-go on the throbbing album opener “My Love Is Real,” penned by Boeckner, which is the album's first single release, and the stripped-bare, buzz-embroidered, telegraphic guitar rocker “Flaggin' a Ride,” written by Daniel.
Daniel's tuneful fuzztone and blare dominates and slapback-echoing vocals dominate much of the proceedings, especially on Spoon-like deconstructions such as the jittery “Would That Not Be Nice,” the uncharacteristically danceable and summery “Like Ice Cream” and the fever-dreamy “Neopolitans.”
Through it all, Brown runs a tight and efficient, fine-tuned engine room that keeps everything rocking steady, and the listener is left hoping Divine Fits will do it again sometime.
— Gene Triplett