Fortitude Valley. 15.9.21

With the power battle that ran between American and British guitar bands across the 90s and into the 2000s (Baggy, Grunge, Britpop/indie, Alternative, Electro, Nu-metal, etc) dying somewhere in the past decade, it now seems that there’s pretty much free-picking for anyone smart/wise enough to Magpie the shiniest parts of the past 30 years and pull it into their own identi-kit band.   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 charismatic frontperson (the 1975 then).  If your collection was similar to mine then you may enjoy indie/power pop band Fortitude Valley; an act sparkling in both a lo-fi sound and glorious melodies.

Themselves made up as a collection of bands (Members of Martha, ONSIND and Tigercats) Fortitude make a strong case that whilst genres and power-battles come and go, good music sticks around.  “We came about for a number of reasons” confirms frontwoman/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, I think, is vital for a band”.

Set to release their self-titled, and already being linked to the sound of Belle & Sebastian and Pavement, early Fortitude releases (and videos) showcase both the humour and the love-of-melodies that are central to their style; recent single Cassini glowing with a Blur/Elastica bounce and prior release Baby I’m afraid possessing a sassy/ intellectual Dandy Warhols pop drive and wit.   “The album’s quiet 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.  The break 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 pop/alternative banger ‘All hail the great destroyer’ and the Britpoppy ‘It’s not U, it’s me’ with it’s Lush sounding bounce.

Delayed by covid, Fortitude are now ready not just to release their album but also get on the road and tour it with a gig at Twisterella 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”) and plans being put in place for an album tour at some point (“covid got in the way of us being able to properly plan for a launch tour but hopefully we’ll get something together for later this year or the start of next year”).

Pre (potential) tour 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, a band who knows what it likes and isn’t afraid to push things forward.