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Fitz & the Tantrums

Pickin' Up the Pieces (Dangerbird)

Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Records

Fitz & the Tantrums

Pickin' Up the Pieces (Dangerbird)

Everywhere you turn, there's another neo-soul band trying to re-create, in some form or fashion, the classic sounds of Motown, Stax, and Philadelphia International artists. One of the best such efforts comes from the City of Angels on this impressive full-length debut, which succeeds in large part because the band creates its own vibe. Partial to the 1970s, Pickin' Up the Pieces borrows particular elements such as Motown's percussive thunder on "MoneyGrabber," a Billy Preston organ mash-up on "Rich Girls," and the title track's disco lights. Singer Michael Fitzpatrick's massive blue-eyed soul chops make it all happen, recalling a swaggering young Tom Jones on "Dear Mr. President." Noelle Scaggs, who's worked with the Black Eyed Peas and Quantic, provides vocal fortification up front. Tight production throughout is another reason this gem shines bright and soulful. (Thu., 10pm, Rusty Spurs; Fri., 11:15pm, Mellow Johnny's)

***

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