It’s hard to overemphasize just how good A Thing Called Divine Fits. Sure, at first, it seems typical – the band is essential an indie rock supergroup. Britt Daniel comes from Spoon, Dan Boeckner heads up Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown is the drummer from that one crazy punk band New Bomb Turks. Together, they do what a supergroup usually does. Daniel and Boeckner split up the vocal responsibilities and primary task of writing and you can feel out which songs were mostly Daniel and which were mostly Boeckner. It’s not some super deep concept album (which, for supergroups, don’t really work out well). It never quite reaches the maturity of Spoon’s Transference and doesn’t really try to challenge you like Wolf Parade’s Expo 86. So what is A Thing Called The Divine Fits, exactly? Well, in fact, it is just that. Divine Fits is, simply put, the best indie rock album of the summer, and you’d be a fool not to pick it up at your local record store.
Divine Fits can really draw three crowds. For fans of Spoon, Daniel is at the top of his classic form on these tracks. With “Would That Not Be Nice”, “Like Ice Cream”, and “Flaggin A Ride”, Daniel utilizes his failsafe blend of simple textures and wonderfully commanding vocal melody to get your attention. But with Divine Fits, Daniel isn’t trying to prove anything. Rather, he’s having a blast, and you can tell. “Would That Not Be Nice” is soaked in new-wave nostalgia, while Daniel’s sampling of his own voice on “Like Ice Cream” makes for one of the catchiest Spoon-esque songs ever. Not that Daniel doesn’t get serious at all on the Divine Fits record. Rather, on “Shivers”, he tells a heartbreaking, honest story of self-discovery and distaste, backed by a noisy and bluesy layer of guitars to taste.
On the other hand, Divine Fits might have caught your attention from the Wolf Parade side of things. Boeckner’s raw experimentation and sense of the epic is held on a slightly shorter leash in Divine Fits. His tracks are still quite a bit messier and more playful than Daniel’s, but all of it feels cleaner and a bit less ambitious. But not in a bad way. Rather, like Daniel, Boeckner feels relaxed on the Divine Fits record, and he, too, gets to give himself up to his 1980s jones. On “The Salton Sea”, “My Love Is Real”, and “For Your Heart”, Boeckner time-travels as far as you can without being a McFly. The result is, of course, three of the best tracks of the year.
The height of the Divine Fits magic, though, happens on track 6. With “Baby Get Worse”, Boeckner and Daniel go side by side for a track that is nearly even in contribution. The Spoon-ey drums are there, but that synth has Boeckner written all over it. And by the end of the track, as the two howl along together, you can’t help but sing along at the top of your lungs. “My heart is beating in and out of time… she can really get me going.” It’s a simple message, no doubt. Divine Fits isn’t trying to instigate a radical new motion for either of these fantastic songwriters. Rather, it’s just a chance to show off a bit and enjoy each other’s company, while having something to prove it with. And that is why you will love Divine Fits.
A Thing Called Divine Fits is out now on Merge Records. You can grab it on CD, vinyl, and digitally. If you want more samples, the whole album is streaming on Divine Fits’ Soundcloud page. Divine Fits is on tour now with Cold Cave.