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Album review: Divine Fits' 'A Thing Called Divine Fits'

August 28, 2012|By Mikael Wood
  • Divine Fits' 'A Thing Called Divine Fits'
Divine Fits' 'A Thing Called Divine Fits' (Handout )

Divine Fits

"A Thing Called Divine Fits"

(Merge)

Two stars (out of four)

The signs of restlessness were there to see on 2010's "Transference": After leading Spoon to critical acclaim and commercial success, Britt Daniel appeared to be tiring of the Austin, Texas, band's crisp button-down indie rock; he was stretching out into trippy synth textures and open-ended guitar jams, exploring where he'd once refined.

Two years later, Daniel — now living in Los Angeles — has formed a new project, Divine Fits, with Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, two congenitally adventurous outfits free of any mainstream renown to run from. (Drummer Sam Brown, from the Ohio punk band New Bomb Turks, rounds out Divine Fits' indie-supergroup lineup.)

You can hear the pleasure Daniel's taking from the freewheeling sound of "A Thing Called Divine Fits," which further destabilizes Spoon's solid-state groove; it's basically a kind of haunted goth-garage record, complete with an affectionate cover of "Shivers" by Nick Cave's first band, the Boys Next Door. Sometimes, you can take pleasure from the sound too: "Flaggin a Ride" shimmers with appealingly spooky guitar atmospherics, while "What Gets You Alone," sung by Boeckner, builds to a fevered climax. And the band really hammers onstage. (It plays the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever on Tuesday night.) As a set of songs, though, Divine Fits' debut feels pretty process-oriented, more workbook than showpiece.

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