Some people go to a lot of trouble to let you know that Divine Fits, the collaboration between Dan Boeckner, Britt Daniel and Sam Brown, is not a “super group.” Take the quotes off of that though and you’re still left with a super group, and if anything their performance at the 9:30 Club last week couldn’t have put a finer point on that distinction if it tried.
Oh sure, the issues that exist on the album are all still there, including the big one of Brit Daniel’s songs sounding, for the most part like Spoon outtakes. But should that really be a point of contention? At this point you could no more take the Spoon out of Daniel then Daniel out of the Spoon. And considering that this is their first effort, it’s to be expected that there is some overlap.
So while songs like “Flaggin’ A Ride,” “The Salton Sea” and “Like Ice Cream” came off as the tight, off kilter pop gems that they are, it was the Boeckner fronted songs – “Baby Get Worse,” “Civilian Stripes” and a performance of “My Love Is Real” shot straight from 1987 – that showed off the true potential of this nascent band, and pointed to, sound-wise, a more distinctive future.
Like any new band, Divine Fits didn’t have a ton of material to work with, so covers (besides The Boys Next Door cover “Shivers” that closed the set and can be found on the album) were trotted out as expected – though not the ones you might expect. A ballsy take of Frank Ocean’s “Lost” provided a chance for the group to show off their range, while The Rolling Stones “Sway” with Boeckner and Daniel trading verses highlighted the duality of the Divine fits. And to kick off the encore the group took the twang out of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky” to bring it more in line with their own particular version of the 80’s that the band seems to be putting forth – or at least making it sound as if it had been a Cars song all along.
And that’s where the Divine Fits find their real strength. They’re not reinventing the wheel so much as making it an exponentially cooler thing. Right now the Divine Fits have all the swagger of a band who has been thrilling audiences for years. And to be fair, between them they sort of have been. But if the set that this definitely not a super group delivered last week at the 9:30 Club is any indication, the best for them, and us, is yet to come.