FIZZ – RESIDENT, BRIGHTON 1.11.23
Growing up as a teenager in the 2010s was a very glorious and innocent time for my generation: Vine was still a thing, independent music reached audiences in quite the beneficial manner, and quite significantly, YouTube culture remained healthy (in comparison with the polarising TikTok). YouTube was always the safe haven to watch vloggers, learn how to cook and post embarrassing videos that would become news studio-worthy viral sensations. It was around the time in the early and mid-2010s where YouTubers began rising to creative and artistic prominence through songs they would give to their subscribing public; two band members of Wednesday night’s show at Resident Music, Dodie Clark (dodie) and Orla Gartland were big favourites of mine. Zipping forward a few years onward, Clark and Gartland join forces with two close friends in similar social media circles, Martin Luke Brown and Greta Isaac to create the exciting world of FIZZ!
Debuting their material at a headline show at London’s Hoxton Hall back in June, as well as a cheeky ‘Great Escape’ show at Shooshh on May 11th, FIZZ have enjoyed several festival shows preceding select dates across beloved independent record stores in the run up to their debut album ‘The Secret To Life’, which dropped on Friday. As I waited patiently in the intermittent rain and wind outside Resident Music, I noticed how thrilling it was to see such a young and vibrant audience queue to support a full supergroup of talented musicians and creatives (something that, in this era of TikTok and solo artist chart entries, is somewhat of a rarity). Packed like a sardine in a record shop-sized tin, a 15-minute wait ensued until the black-and-white decorated quartet made their way out into the hordes of devoted fans. With a hearty “Hello, what’s up?!” from Dodie, the energy that would enhance from start to finish was in place.
“This is a very special set, because we have a song named after you…!”, a reference to their debut single ‘High In Brighton’ leads to the foursome blessing us with its opening harmonies… but wait! They halt the intro, the teases, as Dodie’s yell of “Psych!” means they’ll be treating us to that song later…! Instead, Orla and Dodie lead us into the respective minimal drum and acoustic guitar pattern that constitutes the backbone of the progressive and fruitful ‘Strawberry Jam’. Complete with warm, huggable harmonies that act for some of the group’s strongest musical elements, this track has all the charm and soul of a Stevie Wonder with just that extra touch of contemporary love to keep its spark alight. Also, a dedicated fan holding up a jar of the titular fruit preserve just sums up the band’s cultish fanbase! The second song of the night, as well as the shortest at just over a minute, ‘Rocket League’, sees Martin take vocal lead with what they penned as their “most serious song”... most obviously in jest, a song about a hedonistic recreation involving the console game of the same name proves to be as sharp and witty as the rest of the set that was to come!
The song ‘I Just Died’ is a prime example of the quartet’s songwriting (or Dodie’s in this case) being a strong component of their immediacy as a musical unit: the playful as all hell progressions, the stop-start inflections between Martin’s keys and Orla’s guitar, not to mention Dodie’s clarinet solo and a chorus melody that would fit ever so snuggly on an ‘Exotic Creatures Of The Deep’-era Sparks song. Introducing the emotional song territory for a couple moments is the track ‘You, Me, Lonely’, a melancholic number surrounding the ramblings of a break-up. Lyrics like “this is so comfortable, it hurts” rings out a huge chord to me, and the sight of Dodie singing these heartbreaking melodies into various audience members’ eyes (including mine) touches the soul like you wouldn’t believe. ‘Lights Out’, another moment of lyrical despondency, hangs on simple one-note piano phrases (kinda like Dodie’s hit song ‘Secret For The Mad’), before shifting into warm and elaborate chords to raise the spirits up. Being an avid fan of Dodie and Orla’s YouTube career, it’s slightly odd not watching them on a phone screen, playing board games around a table (LINK HERE). Kicking into the second half the set is the Orla Gartland-led track ‘Close One’, which makes use of swung 4/4 rhythms and an elevation in audience sing-alongs, while the subsequent track ‘Hell Of A Ride’ sees FIZZ jump into overdrive with strong and dynamic choruses, heavy drop D guitar chords from Greta and Orla, and a luscious transition to floating keys and guitar noodling to close off.
This transition leads us into ‘As Good As It Gets’, where the prickly, yet slick guitar notes create this warm pillow of comfort for the shopful of Fizzlets to listen from. Topped with an incredibly powerful ending, this track was definitely a highlight of the set… that is until the last three songs came around. We are treated to a wonderful cover of Lily Allen’s ‘Smile’ which has become a prominent feature in their live sets, packed with incredible key changes, rises in tempo towards the end of the track, and a mash-up/interpolation of Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ and the infamous Julius Fucik military march ‘Entry Of The Gladiators’ (more commonly remembered as THAT clown circus melody line), soloed on clarinet by Dodie. The time finally arrives for a rendition of ‘High In Brighton’, a track that is clearly Martin’s favourite as indicated by a continuation of smiles upon his face throughout. Waves of harmonies that flood the title lyric make their procession into the crowd as real physical waves swing in the crowd to the word “high”… hi, high, geddit?!
Anyways, we approach the final track of the set, the title song from FIZZ’s album ‘The Secret To Life’, which followed a statement from the band that the aforementioned album could reach the top 20 album charts and beyond come Friday (that’s if Taylor Swift doesn’t get there first…!). With a melody that sounds like it’s straight out of a funhouse, this is, hands down, the quirkiest song of the night with bubbles blowing into the crowd (hopefully with no dismay from the Resident staff members watching it pop over the vinyls), and Dodie’s introduction of a hand puppet to sing along! Rapturous applause cascaded the quartet as they made their way into the back room; before long, another queue for us commenced, this time to collect our copies of ‘The Secret To Life’, get them signed and meet the band! Meekly approaching the four-piece, I thanked them all for a great set and with special thanks to Orla and Dodie especially for making my teenhood all the more bearable with their content. I shall be looking forward to catching them again in Brighton’s Chalk come 29th February next year. (Tickets HERE) So long, The Last Shadow Puppets, farewell, boygenius, and adieu, Atoms for Peace, because a new supergroup is here, and its name is FIZZ!
‘I Just Died’
‘You, Me, Lonely’
‘Hell Of A Ride’
‘As Good As It Gets’
‘Smile’ (Lily Allen cover)
‘High In Brighton’
‘The Secret To Life’