It only seemed fitting that I'd review Fitz & The Tantrums release of Songs for a Break-up - Vol. 1. We share a nickname at the very least. And I'm sure I've had my share of tantrums over the years, but probably not like his!
The five songs on this EP resonate with a purity that reflects a simpler age of music. The 1960s brought us Soul music in a way America hadn't heard before - and somehow Fitz has managed to bring back the sounds of that time while giving it his own spin.
The story goes that "It all started with a phone call." One long night and the effort to extract a huge church organ from somewhere in L.A. led to Fitz writing "Breakin' the Chains of Love" that very evening. The album was recorded in Fitz's living room with this organ (purchased for a mere $50) on one lousy microphone. And it sounds awesome.
Sometimes love doesn't work. But "Breakin' the Chains of Love" works from the bass line that walks you into it to the Tantrums singing backgrounds to the horn section emphasizing the melody to that great organ.
"Don't Gotta Work It Out" continues the theme of love not quite working out. "We don't gotta work it out / 'cause no one gonna tell you where to find me / when you, you come lookin' for me / 'cause I'll be walking out the door before you know it and you better believe..." Fitz has broken those chains and is moving on to even the score. She's going to miss him when he's gone, but he doesn't really care. Serves her right for playing the field on him.
As I worked my way through the album, I couldn't help but hear similarities to some of the tracks from the great 1980s movie - The Commitments - that chronicled an Irish "Soul" band and had some amazing soul music throughout. Fitz, though he was born in France and later moved to Los Angeles as a kid, you can tell he has some soul running through him and honors the influences of the haydays of Motown.