Beyond definition: supergroup the Divine Fits new album “A Thing Called the Divine Fits” in review

Supergroups are a dangerous concept. While the idea of stars coming together to form one musical juggernaut may seem brilliant, we’ve seen it fail so many times now. Though there may be the occasional Traveling Wilburys or Broken Social Scene that break through and create the timeless music we expect from superstars coming together, so often we are instead left with jumbled messes that reflect what truly happens when huge egos are left to interact: Velvet Revolver, Freebass, Power Station, Monsters of Folk, Contraband… The list is seemingly endless.

The concept of a “Supergroup” is even stranger in the realm of indie music. We’re not talking about huge musical icons like Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart coming together to form a well-publicized new group (Superheavy), but somewhat under-the-radar, minor music celebrities. And so we are presented with a brand new indie supergroup that somehow defies every definition of supergroup: The Divine Fits.

Comprised of Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (The Handsome Furs, Wolf Parade), and Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks), The Divine Fits represent a new kind of supergroup. With their debut album, “A Thing Called the Divine Fits,” the band builds off those components that identified their individual bands, and explores brand new territory. This sound makes for a slick, new-wavy, indie rock package that stands as one of the most fascinating and well-crafted albums of 2012 so far.

“A Thing Called the Divine Fits” opens with the albums’ first single, “My Love is Real.” Built off a simple, incessant electronic beat and decidedly new-wave synth bursts, the song perfectly sets a tone for the rest of the album. As with a majority of the album, the songwriting is easily quotable, and yet deep enough to affect the listener (“My love is real/ until it stops”). Boeckner’s lead vocals are almost hypnotizing, leading a darkly humorous sing-along that demands to be replayed over and over again.

Lead vocals on the album are evenly split between Daniel and Boeckner, keeping the album crisp and flowing. The pacing of the album is superb, keeping listeners on their toes throughout all 11 tracks. Songs flow almost seamlessly into each other. Slight but frequent tempo changes keep the album light without feeling jumbled. Most importantly, the balance between new-wave and indie rock is struck beautifully so that both are brought together into one slick, smart new sound.

Based solely on the roster of the band, The Divine Fits are undoubtedly a supergroup. And yet the Divine Fits transcend that definition. Rather than a jumbled amalgam of three disparate sounds, the Divine Fits are a genuinely separate musical experience from their base ingredients. It would be easy to write off the band as just another indie get-together. But the Divine Fits are something special. Their sound is so natural and sharp that it sounds effortless.

“A Thing Called the Divine Fits” is one of the most exciting debut albums of 2012, and if their first album clicked this well, just imagine what’s in store.