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‘Fitz and The Tantrums’ review: Los Angeles band speeds up tempo with new pop

"Fitz & The Tantrums" on Elektra Records contains the catchy single "HandClap." Photo Credit: Elektra Records

THE GRADE B+

BOTTOM LINE Establishing themselves as a pop band

Fitz and The Tantrums’ move from their retro-soul roots to the sparkling dance pop on their new album, “Fitz and The Tantrums” (Elektra), might have been alarming if the Los Angeles band didn’t do it so well.

The band had plenty of hits from its last album, 2013’s “More Than Just a Dream,” including a pair of No. 1’s on the modern rock chart: “The Walker” and “Out of My League.” However, now Fitz and The Tantrums have sped up the tempo.

The omnipresent first single, “HandClap,” puts the band right on the dance floor, complete with hand claps right in the hook. The video game sampling “Walking Target” actually sounds like a faster version of “Out of My League” in place, while the groovy “Fadeback” mixes ’80s synth-pop touches with the kind of catchy pop that bands like DNCE are putting out.

On “Roll Up,” Fitz and The Tantrums pile up verses that roll downhill quickly, like Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” and an irresistible, party-starting chorus that recalls the days of Smashmouth and Sugar Ray, when rock bands could have pop hits. Those days are back.

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