Fitz & the Tantrums, 'Pickin' Up the Pieces' (Dangerbird)

7
Pickin' Up the Pieces
Critical Mass
Label: Dangerbird

by Barry Walters

Many recent students of old-school soul get the rhythms and vibe right, but what sets Michael Fitzpatrick and his L.A. crew apart is their mastery of Motown-esque melodies. Guitar-less but heavy on the organ, sax, and hands-to-the-heavens claps, this home-recorded debut swings like demos of actual '60s hits. Lyrically, it's less finessed, as the conscious but clunky "Dear Mr. President" makes clear. But Fitz and sidekick Noelle Scaggs can croon and wail like a biracial, male-female Hall & Oates, and with "MoneyGrabber," they've got their own "Maneater."

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