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A Thing Called Divine Fits

The Divine Fits are a 3-piece set led by both Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs) and Britt Daniel (of Spoon).  Dan Brown (of New Bomb Turks) is on drums and Alex Fischel jumps in on keys throughout the album.  Their first album, “A Thing Called Divine Fits”, was released in the U.S. today by Merge Records.

This album will get plenty of attention this year and the hype-friendly term “supergroup” has already been exhausted in the first line of most articles currently circulating about the fits.  The 2 styles are distinct, contrasting Daniel’s gritty minimalist rock with Boeckner’s smooth synth pop.  Boeckner’s work with the Handsome furs ended with ‘Sound Kapital’, an energetic electronic album with mostly synth, a drum machine and little, if any, guitar work.  He brings haunting melodies and nervy vocals to the Divine Fits while refining the synth and electronics.  Daniel’s stripped down rock drives precise guitar and base pops melodically through the open space between drum claps.  Brown’s drumming is crucial.  It often feels like he’s holding back, but imposing enough to be a guiding force through the tracks.

At times the album sways back and forth between styles and the 2 opening tracks echo of the leader’s respective bands.  Track 3, the fuzzy “What Gets You Alone”, is the first distinct marriage of sounds.  There is a reflective element in the lyrics that builds momentum, with the music, as the album unfolds.  Track 6, “Baby Gets Worse”, is where the immediacy and intensity begin fully synthesizing.

Both lyricists have a knack for capturing abstract emotions and images in sharp, pruned lines.  Boeckner’s conviction is felt in hard acoustic guitar strums that offset the somewhat apathetic lyrics in “Civilian Stripes”.

Track 8, “For Your Heart”, is the climax of the album; a song as tightly crafted as it is desperate and complex—the drums enforce the impression of restrained aggression.

In the following track Daniel rides the fervor in his compelling interpretation of “Shivers”, a song originally performed by Nick Cave with the Boys Next Door in 1979.

There are no dead spots and no throw away tracks.  It is a solid record, progressive and full of hooks.  Whether some tracks echo of past bands to you or not, the combination of styles accomplishes a textured sound that could lead the next shift in indie rock.