Fizzle Like a Flood – S/T EP

Since writing about a tragically overlooked mid-90s band’s best album, Tripmaster Monkey’s Goodbye Race, as DOA’s Unappreciated Album of the Month a while ago, I’ve met many Tripmaster fans online. And imagine my surprise in finding that Doug Kabourek, the multi-instrumentalist behind Fizzle Like a Flood, was a longtime fan of the band. In fact, this EP is practically devoted to Tripmaster Monkey, who penned the song “Fizzle Like a Flood” that inspired Kabourek’s choice of band name. With a cover of Tripmaster Monkey’s best song, “Shutters Closed,” hints of that song in other tracks, and and even a stellar unreleased Tripmaster track hidden in the negative space on the EP (with permission, of course), this feels like an ode to Kabourek’s formative years.
Kabourek likes to do things a little differently. His first full-length was a concept album told in reverse, and after an EP of beautiful, soaring, gorgeous love-themed songs, he released an album of acoustic songs that purported to be demos for another full-length of epic versions of those songs, although that full-length doesn’t exist. A lesser musician may be scoffed at for such twists, but Kabourek is a brilliant musician, equally adept at layered, lush studio pop gems as the stripped-down acoustic songs on Flash Paper Queen.
So even folks who never heard of Tripmaster Monkey (and I imagine that’s most of you) will find something to love on this new EP by Fizzle Like a Flood (or Fizood, as the project is affectionally known). And isn’t that the purpose of an EP: to try something new, maybe try out a theme, and give homage to bands important to the creative musician? Kabourek does that well, starting with gorgeous strings and layered sounds of the intro to the EP, “Shutters Open,” and a “Shutters Closed” theme to the first song, “Love the Fuck.” Those opening tracks provide a perfect bookend to the cover of “Shutters Closed” at the end of the album. Kabourek manages to keep the edge of that song while adding his own feel through vocal harmonies, a layer of distortion, and some synth backing.
This EP can be seen as a look back not only in the homage to Tripmaster Monkey but also the wonderful instrumentals “Nothing Much” and “Something More,” which are reinterpretations of songs developed in Kabourek’s early days playing with the band The Laces. A fantastic mix of rich percussion, acoustic guitar, and other sounds turn these works into epic-sounding collages.
While all these works are looking back, the remaining songs of the seven-track EP look forward, showcasing Kabourek’s devotion to piano and layered pop. “Decide to Die” is a stark track, with Kabourek’s voice slightly distorted against a backdrop of pristine piano and a more layered background, even ending in glorious vocal harmonies, singing “The sun will shine, the sun will shine” optimistically. The similarly melancholy themed “Rides to Get High,” with its lyrics of “God didn’t ever want us falling in love” similarly combines piano and synth sounds with acoustic guitar and more clear vocals.
I admit to being a huge fan of Omaha, Nebraska’s Fizzle Like a Flood, and although I may be a tad biased with my similar love for Tripmaster Monkey, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fantastic EP. Kabourek continuously surprises me with each release, trying new sounds and new directions and never failing to hit the mark with brilliant and intricate pop. Although I’d never attempt to guess what will come next, I can’t wait to hear it!