Search The Line of Best Fit
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Pan Am Blues is a reimagined disco-driven return from Fizzy Blood

"Pan Am Blues"

Release date: 13 January 2023
Fizzy blood pan am blues art
13 January 2023, 00:00 Written by Ims Taylor

For those who’ve ever lived in or around Leeds, Fizzy Blood are an underground household name.

Coming up in the thriving local indie-punk scene, their garage-buzzy rough and ready sound saw them a staple at the likes of Live at Leeds fest, and across their EP releases, they sanded down the different edges of their rock core. But on their debut album, five years on from their last release, they’ve eschewed it all.

Unrecognisable to the casual listener, the Fizzy Blood we meet on Pan Am Blues are a refined, disco-driven delight. As tight as they’ve ever been, they're leaning into slick production, distinct layers, and spotlights on the technical bits they’re flexing. It’s a world away from where they left off – but some of those hints of energy still come through, albeit in a more restrained way. “10-23” would have been tagged post-punk if it had come out in early 2020, with all the calling cards: a groovy bass, propelling along some punchy talk-singing, with a decent few broody riffs filling out the inbetween. It’s on these noisier tracks that Fizzy Blood fill in their story for us, with a sneaky hint at the steps along the road to the polished sound that constitutes most of Pan Am Blues.

Fizzy Blood are far from new – they’ve been around for eight years, so the history leading up to this record is significant. But taken out of that context, it’s undeniable that Pan Am Blues is some debut. Poised, pointed and totally nonchalant, the record shines because of how relaxed it seems despite how clear and considered every decision is. The instrumentals are intricate and abundant: “Flavour of the Month” is an infectious, poppy jaunt with retro guitars and no fuzz to be found, just polyrhythms and crisp countermelodies; the lilting “Complimentary” and opener “Centre of Nowhere” are positively lush, doused in disco and incorporating sounds from brass flourishes to swooping synth pads.

The overarching feeling of each of Pan Am Blues’s tracks, whatever vibey space it occupies, is the confidence seeping out of every note. As Benji Inkley intones with all the panache of vintage American teenage icons on “Viva Lost Vegas”, “the devil’s in the details”, and it feels that Fizzy Blood could pinpoint their reasoning for every last, tiny one. The attention to detail expands beyond the confines of the record, too, to a three-part short film series sharing the album’s title – a thriller telling the ominous, Black Mirror-esque tale of a reality TV murder. Brilliantly ambitious and an intriguing companion piece to the album, the lengths Fizzy Blood have gone to are formidable, and they pay off.

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