Album Review

Album Review: the secret to life by FIZZ

todayNovember 18, 2023 22

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Michael Ybarra

Music Journalist

The time has come for the waking world to acknowledge Fizzville, a whimsical dimension created by the European band FIZZ. After they pushed their debut release back a full six weeks, their album did not disappoint. The singles prior, including up-tempo tracks like “As Good As It Gets” and “High In Brighton”, perfectly encapsulates the overall message of the album. However, the full release gives listeners all the pieces and nuances to construct a full picture of FIZZ as a band committed to overcoming imposter syndrome, heartache and all kinds of quarter-life crises.

What once was a mysterious, seemingly unrelated initial YouTube video, “A New Phase Awaits You” presents itself as the intro of the album, perfect for inviting listeners to indulge in the lush sonic landscapes that lie ahead.

(412) FIZZ – The Secret To Life (Live At Middle Farm Studios) – YouTube

A seamless transition initiates the title track before the four-member ensemble launches into scream-singing their overarching album messages. The lyrics show a commitment to silliness, societal rebellion and, above all else, hedonism, the philosophy that prioritizes pleasure. FIZZ illustrates this through full songs like “High In Brighton”, where the band yearns to escape the monotony of everyday life, and through little nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout the unserious moments, like the outro of “Hell Of A Ride” which expresses gratitude for the miracle of existence.

This throughline of a pleasure over stress philosophy is emphasized in, “Strawberry Jam”, a fitting name because the song literally sounds like a jam session between the members. The gentle shuffle of drums in the background provides the perfect swinging foundation for the delicate ad-libs in the first verse before opening up to allow Orla Gartland, designated crooner of the group, to begin belting. 

Gartland rebels against the belief of categorizing “boring people” as those who never go out to clubs with their friends. As FIZZ is made up of real-life friends Dodie, Martin Luke Brown, Gartland and Greta Isaac, I can imagine them sitting in an apartment playing board games and drinking wine for the night. Through this song, the band powerfully opposes party culture as the sole marker of a tight-knit friend group. Although partying can be fun, FIZZ seems to cherish the simple, arguably boring moments with the ones they hold most dear.

This sentiment is sprinkled throughout the album. Intimate moments reveal themselves in “Close One”, where Gartland, now fully embodying her crooner persona, falls victim to her partner’s charm again and again, and in “You, Me, Lonely”, Dodie’s solo track. 

You, Me, Lonely album cover of house with spooky vibes
You, Me, Lonely album cover. | FIZZ

In the latter, Dodie’s codependency on her partner is on full display, but this seems to be a gentle kind of clinging, not the type to rip at one’s fingernails. Dodie enjoyed the silences she and her partner shared, the comfort of simply existing side by side. She enjoyed the expectation of her partner’s laugh every time she made a joke. Although the two are parting, Dodie will not stop loving them. Amidst the sweetly dissonant harmonies and mellow guitar, FIZZ effectively proclaims the tender moments that last longer than the loud ones.

“Lights Out”, the album’s penultimate track, is a traditional song about heartbreak, but it is almost completely acapella. The song showcases the talent these members have aside from their ability to write catchy, upbeat songs. As their voices weave in between one another, they sing about how their ex-lovers only haunt them in the dead of night. Beautifully written and performed, this track serves as the perfect resting place before the showstopping finale.

(412) FIZZ – The Grand Finale (Visualiser) – YouTube

Split into four sections, the final track packages everything impressive about FIZZ in a chaotic five-and-a-half minutes. Gartland and Dodie become the first duo by breaking the fourth wall, inviting listeners to party and saying the two will miss them. Distorted clarinets, Dodie’s unique instrument of choice, introduce Brown and Isaac as the next duo before thrusting the listener into the third, Queen and Beatles-esque section. The band brings the groove from the title track back, albeit incredibly more infectious, before initiating the final section, stealing snare drums from My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” and finishing with a punch of ensemble vocals.

“The Grand Finale” resembles the closing number of a musical, the players’ last hurrah before the listener goes about their day. With this finale, FIZZ fosters friendship between them and the listener, leaning into parasocial relationships and leaving them with one last injection of fun before returning to the stress of life. 

FIZZ is one of a kind. Their commitment to deconstructing the relationships they have with themselves, the world and fellow humans all while having fun will likely cement them as one of my favorite bands to listen to. If they go on tour in the states, I will eagerly wait to buy tickets, no matter how long it takes. 

I have already fallen in love with FIZZ. Now, a new phase awaits you.

Written by: Danielle De Lucia

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