Review Summary: Fitz should be throwing tantrums after this one.
Fitz and the Tantrums are a six-piece indie-pop/soul group from Los Angeles. Their debut album, Pickin' Up the Pieces
, was released in 2010, and contained the single "MoneyGrabber" that, although may have been played a couple times on alternative radio, was really nothing but a small blip on the Alternative charts. Three years later, Fitz and his crew returned with their sophomore album, More than Just a Dream
More than Just a Dream
could be considered Fitz’ sophomore slump, as it isn’t as good as Pickin’ Up the Pieces
. All of the things that made them interesting are gone, the sax being replaced with synths, and lyrics recycling banal clichés. Lead single "Out of My League" is easily the album's strongest song, with its catchy chorus and ooh-oohs, infectious melody and clapping beats. It has the potential to be a summer radio hit, that is, if it crosses over to the pop charts. It’s one of the few songs on the album that only features Michael Fitzpatrick at the microphone, and it’s an experience that probably should have been used more on the album, as I feel the band could have done a lot more if they made more songs with a Fitzpatrick solo vocal performance.
The band’s co-singer, Noelle Scaggs, is used in a lot of songs, harmonizing with Fitzpatrick on a number of songs, including “6 AM” and “Last Raindrop”. However, her vocals are completely monotonous and boring, without any personality or emotion in her voice. In some songs, her vocals are completely unnecessary and do nothing for the song.
There are some highlights in this The aforementioned “Out of My League” opens up the album on a cheerful and fresh note, with its claps and whistles. “Fools’ Gold” shows the best of the harmonization between Fitzpatrick and Scaggs (who for once finally shows some emotion in her voice), their vocals meshing together perfectly in the chorus. Closer “MerryGoRound” also features Fitz prominently, and it’s hard to notice Scaggs in the chorus, as her vocals are clearly overpowered by him. With its catchy chorus, decent vocals and infectious beat, “MerryGoRound” closes the album on a positive note, with hope for their next album.
Unfortunately, lots of filler drags More than Just a Dream
down. Many of the songs here are boring indie-pop that try to mask their weakness behind overblown choruses. “House on Fire” is one of the album’s more soul-influenced tracks, and probably the most experimental track on the record. However, the end result is boring, and, along with “Get Away”, Scaggs’ background vocals are irritating. “6 AM” features a completely unneeded Scaggs appearance, as her vocals don’t match up well with Fitz’s, adding up to a clunky mess, and “The Walker” contains the horrifically annoying yelp of “Here we go! The feeling in my soul!” that does nothing but show how out of range Fitz is on the track.
In the end, if you came here due to the strength of “Out of My League”, you will be disappointed. The vocals are weaker than ever, synths replace the sax, filler dominates the album in sections, and its lyrics recycle clichés that have used since the creation of mankind. It had the potential to be a great indie-pop album, but it was lost amongst the boringness of the songs. Fitz go completely out of their league, and the end result is a jumbled mess with only a few highlights in between all of the clear weaknesses.