by Allison Kridle
Listening to the Brooklyn band Fits’ shiny debut LP, All Belief is Paradise, is like going to therapy. There are moments of outpouring reveal, anguish, slight regurgitation and sweet adrenaline. You’ll even feel like your time with the album was too brisk; maybe take a minute or two to digest what you just heard, and then go back.
Originally formed as a solo project of Nicholas Cummins (guitars and vocals), who put out an EP of demos called Brave Baby in late 2015, the DIY musician eventually added bassist Emma Witmer, guitarist Joe Galarraga, and drummer Brian Orante into their space of clippy melodies, forceful rhythms and alleviating yelps.
Everything about All Belief is Paradise is gripping. The tracks stretch from jolty and excitable to haunting pop rock ballads, without seeming too catchy enough to sing along right from the start. The song “Running Out” is good for unleashing frustrations. Cummins initially breaks it open as they shout, “I want, I want to be sincere but I can’t let it come out so clear that/ I want, I want to be less fearful of what, of what could happen here.” The song takes twists and contains slick guitar riffs. There’s just enough room and settling moments that allow you to take a quick inhale in between Cummins’ clamor.
On the other hand, the track “The Ground,” feels a little more suffocating. A distant and echoey recording (perhaps from the past) of Cummins lamenting remains tangible throughout the song. Half way through, a clear and vocal Cummins becomes a little more known. Even with their terse and crisp voice beside smooth deep riffs, it seems like you’ll have to live without oxygen for a few beats. Maybe it’s the “old town that you talked about,” Cummins mentions that causes some anxiety or disturb, but it all releases when the song blasts instrumentally for a couple of seconds and peters off with just a few chords left dangling.
There’s a lot going for this album, but the amount of space each track claims is what makes Cummins’ shouts seem like pleas, and every distorted melody feel like the haze consuming your own head. Even if you go into this album feeling a little foggy and lost, you’ll probably emerge more transparent than ever.