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Fitz and the Tantrums: Pickin' Up the Pieces (Dangerbird) 

With their 1970s throwback rock leaning heavily on R&B, soul and funk, Fitz and the Tantrums sound like the house band in a Quentin Tarantino film.

There's a strong retro feel as the band digs into deep grooves and flashes bright horns. Built around a steady bass and versatile organ-playing, it's a guitar-free band—with the chops and personality to pull it off, especially in the vocals of Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs.

The Motown and Stax influences are everywhere on the band's 10-song debut LP, but Fitz and the Tantrums have a distinctly Los Angeles flair, ready-made for Hollywood.

With its catchy organ riff, the title track is an ode to broken hearts. Next up is single "MoneyGrabber," a kiss-off to a gold-digger, with a surging chorus. Whether it's a girl living in a penthouse, or one in a basement studio, "you always end up playing the fool," Fitz sings on "Rich Girls": "The rich girls will break your heart / The poor girls take your money."

Fitz and the Tantrums are best when the band keeps the tempo lively. Album-closer "Tighter" takes a turn toward Lionel Ritchie at his cheesiest, proving the band isn't built for ballads.

Fitz and the Tantrums might be on the retro bandwagon, but Pickin' Up the Pieces is a well-executed record.

More by Eric Swedlund

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