Fizzle Like a Flood – Golden Sand and the Grandstand

Fizzle Like a Flood
Golden Sand and the Grandstand

As the proliferation of albums coming out of bedroom studios increases daily, it’s only common sense that a certain number of these are going to be absolute trash. After all, songwriters don’t have to pass a test before dropping a disc on an unsuspecting populace, and all it takes is the cash and time before your name is staring back at you on a piece of burnt plastic. But overall, this seems to have been a good thing. For every piece of major label-backed nonsense we’ve been subjected to, the past eras have no doubt seen just as many deserving bands that never made it out of the basements and garages. The playing field may still be far from even, but bands like Fizzle Like a Flood prove that the DIY approach is still probably the safest bet for finding sincere craftsmanship.
Combining somewhat new-wavey pop tendencies with Flaming Lips psychedelia and They Might Be Giants quirkiness, Fizzle Like a Flood’s Doug Kabourek has given us his intricate labor of love. As the fictional tale of the 80-year history of a racetrack, told from the end to the beginning, Kabourek crafts a rather hard script to follow. But taken as a set of 10 densely layered arrangements, these are multi-textured, highly melodic indie pop songs. Though the arrangements cover a lot of ground musically, with each track containing an average of 40 tracks, at only 25 minutes, Golden Sand and the Grandstand isn’t quite long enough to be sprawling.
Opening with what sounds like a sample of my old doorbell, “Shadows” soon drops into a slowly tiptoeing ballad, with Kabourek’s atmospheric multi-tracked vocals rising and falling around the retelling of the closing of the racetrack. Comparably cheery, the nightmare carnival ride of “Mr. Tizzy’s Tomatoes,” where a man blames the results of his poor gardening on the vibrations caused by horses at the racetrack, is mostly mutated spoken word with spiraling guitar. Still, Kabourek can find a rather straightforward indie rock groove, as the growling guitars and space ship synths of “A Dance With the Dozer” and the thumping dance beats of “Delayed Dedication” prove.
Just as often, Kabourek takes a rather stripped down approach. The relaxed autumnal pop of “Again This Summer,” built mostly on acoustic guitar, is fairly straightforward and totally accessible. Similarly, the jaunty triumphant pop of “Kissed In Stereo” and the climaxing balladry of “Believe In Being Barefoot” show a romantic, almost picturesque songwriting sense. Indicative of his thematic focus, Kabourek even goes so far as to run off the potential cast for the cinematic rendering of his script in “The Movie.”
Even if Kabourek doesn’t do anything essentially groundbreaking here, he has overwhelmingly succeeded in creating an interesting and mostly compelling mini-concept album. Sure, the potential exists for all of us to go out and get the computer programs and radio shack microphones needed to make our own musical statement. And while I don’t completely condone amateurs conducting bedroom symphonies, Fizzle Like a Flood holds out hope that, with enough work, we too can be unjustly ignored by millions.