Fitz and the Tantrums, Pickin’ Up The Pieces

Sean Fennessey

By Sean Fennessey

on 06.15.11 in Reviews

Pickin' Up The Pieces

Fitz and The Tantrums

Retro soul is no longer retro. Which is to say, it's officially perennial. After Amy Winehouse and Mayer Hawthorne and Raphael Saadiq and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Lee Fields and — oh, we could go on, but we won't — mined that throwback territory to often wonderful effect, a time-frozen style has completely thawed.

A loving soul homage that bubbles over with energy and warm feelings

Michael Fitzpatrick, AKA Fitz, is as reverential as any of those artists. Maybe more so. And so he brings his organ, his honeyed white-man yelp and his five-piece crew to create another loving homage that bubbles over with energy and warm feelings. Fitzpatrick is channeling a particular strand of Motown on his debut — that early Temptations sound, which leaned heavily on bass thwacks and mingling vocals. Noelle Scaggs, an alternately breathy and booming singer, supports Fitz like a Supreme on loan. Fitz' subject matter — gold diggers, shady politicians, heartbreakers — is hardly innovative, but its dependable fodder for earth-shaking R&B. And Pickin' Up The Pieces — recorded in Fitzpatricks' Los Angeles living room! — fits comfortably into a new old sound, affirming itself without ever sounding like its trying too hard.