INTERVIEW: Fortitude Valley | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With the power battle that ran between American and British guitar bands across the 90s and into the 2000s dying somewhere in the past decade, it now seems that there’s pretty easy pickings for anyone smart enough to choose the shiniest parts of the past 30 years and pull it into their own original sound. You can make your own mind up about what you’d take, but for me I’d collect the lo-fi guitars, humorous side nods and glories melodies (a la Phoebe Bridgers) and mix them with perpetual progression of sound, honest lyrics and a charismatic frontperson (The 1975). If your collection was similar to mine, you may enjoy indie power-pop band Fortitude Valley; an act sparkling in both a lo-fi sound and glorious melodies.

Fortitude Valley are made up of members from a collection of bands NARC. readers may well be familiar with (including Martha, Night Flowers, ONSIND and Tigercats); they make a strong case that whilst genres and scenes come and go, good music sticks around. “We came about for a number of reasons,” confirms frontwoman and chief songwriter Laura Kovic, “partly because I’d written a bunch of songs and didn’t want to be a solo act, and also because we all added really important ingredients and tastes to the songs. Being able to collaborate with other musicians who love music is vital for a band.”

Being able to collaborate with other musicians who love music is vital for a band

Set to release their self-titled album this month, and already being linked to the sound of Belle & Sebastian, Weezer and Pavement, early Fortitude Valley releases showcase both the humour and the love of melodies that are central to their style; recent single Cassini glows with a bubblegum punk vibe, while Baby, I’m Afraid possesses a sassy, intellectual Dandy Warhols-esque pop drive and wit. “The album’s quite varied I think,” confirms Kovic, “that’s partly because we all like a number of different bands, and also because we recorded the album with a large Covid break in the middle and I think that the break slightly altered what was influencing us and meant some original songs didn’t get recorded and new ones came in. Things like that can influence a record and make it more varied.” Indeed, alternate moments on the album include the all-out alt. pop banger All Hail The Great Destroyer and It’s Not U, It’s Me with its Lush sounding bounce.

Fortitude Valley are now ready to get on the road, with an album tour on the horizon in the near future and a gig at Middlesbrough’s Twisterella festival playing immediate focus: “We can’t wait for that one as it’s local to where we’re based and it’ll be one of the first times we’ve had to get out and play some of the newer songs from the album.”

Kovic says the band are looking forward to releasing the record and hearing it’s impact: “Finally it feels like the album’s coming out, and we’ve got shows to play it live, and all of those things are such a great relief as we’re really proud of the album and want people to hear it.”

Fortitude Valley release their self-titled album on 29th October. They play Twisterella Festival in Middlesbrough on Saturday 9th October


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