Fitz and the Tantrums picked up steam in 2008 thanks to their blend of neo-soul and indie pop, and their first successful single, “MoneyGrabber,” which went Gold here in the states. Their style was “retro enough” for the kids, while serving up some pop with substance for those of us who can remember music before Adele and The Weeknd.
The 6-piece group is back with a catchy new single called “HandClap” and their third album (self-titled); the former is far more impressive than the latter. The group seems pretty resolved to dive further into the world of pop, which would have been tolerable had they not left most of their flavor behind. The throwback sounds that made Pickin’ Up the Pieces so appealing have gone watery, while vocalist Noelle Scaggs is still criminally underused. If Fitz and his tantrums go the route of Maroon 5 or Neon Trees, it’d be pretty nauseating. They’re better than that. But if you do check the album out in full, however, focus on the single, “Tricky” and “Get Right Back” – the better of the bunch.
Despite the lackluster third effort, the party vibes of “HandClap” are what I would’ve preferred from the rest of the album. It’s got a great bass line you can groove to, some fun horns (always a plus), a powerful hook and enough hand claps to fill up the main stage at your festival of choice. It’s radio-ready, sure, but packs enough of that Fitz charm we latched onto early on. Check out the incredibly infectious video below, and then add the track to your summer playlist. (I know I did.)
The rest: C-