Summary

The follow-up to their 2010 debut album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, Fitz & the Tantrums' 2013 album, More Than Just a Dream, finds the band expanding upon its vintage soul sound with a more contemporary dance-pop aesthetic. On Pickin' Up the Pieces, Fitz & the Tantrums showcased a '60s soul and R&B approach that mixed sample beats with old-school horns and keyboards, much in the same way Amy Winehouse did on her breakthrough 2006 album, Back to Black. Rather than revisit that sound, Fitz & the Tantrums have clearly decided to update the approach, and More Than Just a Dream finds the band delving into a variety of electronic dance sounds that touch upon '80s new wave, disco, and blue-eyed soul. Still centered around the shared lead vocals of Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, Fitz & the Tantrums worked with Beck and M83 producer Tony Hoffer, who added guitars, synths, and other programmed beats to the mix. To these ends, tracks like "Out of My League," "6am," and "Spark" are immediately catchy tunes that showcase Hoffer's slick, radio-ready production. Of course, the band hasn't completely abandoned its retro roots, and cuts like the piano-driven "Keepin Our Eyes Out" and the psych-soul-influenced "House on Fire" definitely bring to mind a mix of '60s Brill Building and Motown sounds. Ultimately, with More Than Just a Dream, Fitz & the Tantrums have made an even more infectious, club-ready album than Pickin' Up the Pieces, while still retaining all of the band's organic soulfulness. ~ Matt Collar