Divine Fits: A Thing Called Divine Fits

Divine Fits, Thing Called Divine FitsDivine Fits: A Thing Called Divine Fits
On their debut album, Divine Fits resist not only classification, but commitment to any cohesive semblance of artistic direction, often to their detriment. The wishy-washy title, A Thing Called Divine Fits, says it all. Coming from such disparate elements, the messiness isn’t such a surprise. Comprised of New Bomb Turks‘ Sam Brown, Spoon‘s Britt Daniel, and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade fame, Divine Fits offers its members a chance to indulge in the exploration of territory that would mostly be considered outside the purview of their native projects. And A Thing Called Divine Fits is nothing if not indulgent. For the most part, they steer this vehicle into the synth-drenched waters of EDM, docking all too briefly in some of the dancier inlets of rock. At their best, Divine Fits achieve a happy fusion of Cheap Trick and Duran Duran; exercises in dance-pop that are clever, catchy, and, most importantly, emotionally resonant. For example, “Baby Gets Worse,” though cryptic, offers a narrative of seeking, both musically and lyrically. It possesses a forward momentum that is sorely lacking on the more electronic tracks, in spite of those tracks’ consistently upbeat tempo. So repeated are many synth-driven measures that they lose their sense of melodic musicality to become percussively assaultive. In the right setting, such excursions can be interesting and insightful, but they feel out of context here and only serve to bloat. “Salton Sea” dedicates at least half of its four minute run time to a bland throb whose only real effect is jarring distraction. Though they fall short as a grab at sonic transcendence, it’s hard not to wonder if these overextended forays – which border on obnoxious at their worst – are not a commentary on the thematically and stylistically repetitive nature of pop music. That seems like a reach, though, especially considering how they excel in the pop form. It’s especially interesting to see the band apply their sound to Birthday Party‘s “Shivers.” With a barely perceptible tweak in tempo, they imbue the Gothic dirge with a hopefulness that was clearly there along. Though unbalanced, A Thing Called Divine Fits offers quite a few highlights, even if it is unclear what they want A Thing Called Divine Fits to be.
Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: Divine Fits “Shivers”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl