Fortitude Valley – Fortitude Valley

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Fika Recordings
Released: 2021
Buy Album: Bandcamp
Band Website: Facebook

Band line-up:

LauraKovic – vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard,
Daniel Ellis – lead guitar
Greg Ullyart – bass
Nathan Stephens Griffin – drums

Tracklisting:

01. Baby, I’m Afraid
02. Wreck
03. All Hail The Great Destroyer
04. The Right Thing (Part I)
05. It’s The Hope That Kills You
06. Cassini
07. What You Wanted
08. I Won’t Survive
09. Forget About Me
10. It’s Not U, It’s Me
11. The Right Thing (Part II)

 

 

Review:

Fortitude Valley are an indie band on Fika Recordings, who will be releasing their self-titled album on 29th October, 2021. Guitarist and front woman Laura Kovic has also played with East London indie pop group Tigercats. She may not be used to being the boss with FV, but that’s not stopping her. FV also features the bassist from Night Flowers, and the drummer and the lead guitarist of both Onsind, and Martha. Kovic comments “The fact that we recorded half of the album before the pandemic hit, and then the other half a year and a bit into lockdown life, those ideas of being stuck in a rut, and looking for salvation, have definitely become more prominent themes, but those were there already to some extent. Thinking about time running out has become much more real when everyone has lost a year of their lives (or much worse) to the pandemic.”

So, the album: The lead guitarist has a great classic rock tone which is very addictive. The great thing is, such leads are plentiful. But how about a lighter gauge of strings? It seems the guitarist doesn’t have 100% control of his instrument, (it’s more like 95%) but that really is a nitpick. I guess it makes the sound a little rawer, which is fine. The vocalist ‘s delivery has a bit of a My Bloody Valentine feel which can only be a good thing. I paid £40 to get a second hand copy of the band’s ‘Loveless’ album, so you can imagine the joy I felt when I heard this album for free. However, this album is less arty and spacey. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. FV has a more driving sound, too. The songwriting isn’t Stone Roses level, but it certainly can compute with bands such as The Drums/Kaiser Chiefs, or whatever. 

The sound is very upbeat and catchy, if girly. Not only is the tone gentle and sentimental, the band leader is a woman, so FV were kind of doomed to be ‘a bit much’ for more macho listeners. There are a range of tempos to be heard, but the album is fairly consistent in terms of mood. I’m not bothered by that at all though, as the album is fairly short, and who doesn’t like feeling good, right? There are some sweet and dreamy clean guitar parts, that have a bit of a The Smiths feel at times, but the sound is simplified, here. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It just makes the sound a bit more punky.   

In conclusion, this is very good indie music. Whilst the rhythm guitars certainly have their moments, most of the catchiness comes from the singer. If the instrumental parts had more of the strength of songs such as the classic Friends theme tune ‘I’ll be there for you’ for example, it really would take the music to a whole new level. The music doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s absolutely inoffensive in all areas. That may be a problem for people who are looking for something harder, but I’d definitely buy this album. But I don’t have to. I got if for free. Strongly recommended!

Review by Simon Wiedemann

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