An album without guitars? – okay, but it better feature the saxophone, maybe the sexiest and most soulful instrument ever devised. It’s here and it’s great.
If you like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Hall and Oates, and the Motown-Stax-Philly sound, then you need this new release from Fitz and the Tantrums. Six killer musicians, five dapper suits. Irresistible songs, vintage organ, hot saxophone, wicked melodies – what’s not to like?
Pickin’ Up The Pieces is not an album, at least not the way we’ve come to think of albums. This is a collection of 10 new singles, any one of which could be an opening or closing track, any one of which is going to sound like you’ve been waiting to hear it for years.
Fitz has been around the L.A. music scene for years, working with Beck producer Mickey Petralia. But one day a couple of years ago, his ex-girlfriend called him to say her neighbour had a huge church organ that had to disposed of that day and did he want it. Well, the organ moved in and resulted in a songwriting spree that still hasn’t ended. Fitz called up a great vocalist, Noelle Scaggs, and his close friend James King, a terrific sax player, and last year in 2009 they made an EP entitled Songs for a Breakup Vol.1, which has to be one of the all-time great titles. The Tantrums went on to open for Maroon 5, have shared the stage with Sharon Jones, and appeared recently on Daryl Hall’s internet show, Live from Daryl’s House. Fitz and Noelle took turns singing with Daryl and impressed the hell out of one of the greatest soul singers ever to write soul pop hits.
Fitz might be mistaken for a young Daryl Hall or a botoxed David Byrne. Noelle Scaggs might be mistaken for a young Tina Turner or Tammy Terrell. There hasn’t been such an equal pairing of blue-eyed soul and explosive black beauty ever.
Their EP was recorded in a living room and had some great magic. They went back to the same living room to record this full-length album and achieved a huge sound from a small space. This record is engineered the way Phil Spector used to make hit singles.
Check out “News 4U” to hear something entirely energizing and masterful. And then audition the opening track “Breakin’ The Chains of Love” . Great organ solo. I love this record. I think you will too.
Brian Miller is the Publisher and co-Editor of Vivascene. A former record store owner and business writer, his interests range from vinyl records and high performance audio to design, photography, and succinct writing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org