The Late Great Fitzcarraldos
" A little Sensation" `(Groove Mag) "Brilliantly Composed" (Financial Times) , "A soothing Mix of Pop Massage and Synth Soul Meditation" (Rolling Stone)
Released in 2011 worldwide via Copenhagen based Fake Diamond Rec.
Far away beyond the sea, there’s a place of peace and harmony, you can be anything you want to be, if you’re lost then come along with me”, these are the first lines you get to hear on the selftitled first album of lovely named Late Great Fitzcarraldos and they illustrate quite well what the Fitzcarraldos, three danes sometimes living in Los Angeles, are about. At first view these gentle songs with relaxed beats and discreet guitars, a voice that fortunately in no way can be described as powerful, and floating, sort of bodiless melodies, occasionally sounding reggaeesque, seem to be a soundtrack to everlasting holidays under palm trees with cocktails in your hand and all that. Beautiful slack pop music, maybe a little superficial, maybe a little cheesy.
However, at second go, this perception changes a little. The singing won’t get more “expressive”, the carribean association won’t disappear, there are no edges sharpened, but slowly you recognize that there’s something more to it: On one hand the music is not quite that simple. There’s sophisticated songwriting almost hidden in the effortless arrangements; great songs with brilliant arcs of melody such as “Hanging Upside Down” in a way even are reminiscent of steely dan (“in a way” meaning minus the “virtuos instrumentalists-superperfection” stuff). And it’s not only some tunes drawn together but it is a full album with well-considered structure, including atmospheric interludes and one or two more unconventional songs (“Bolerobilly”) which are no end in itself, so it’s full of variations and yet sounding coherent.
On the other hand also the seem of superficiality fades right away. Big pop music always contains two elements: the entertainment part of shimmering surfaces and catchiness and the touching part, deepness that takes care and creates warmth. The Late Great Fitzcarraldos are familiar with these elements. You’ll always keep the impressions of weightlessness, of a warm breeze but you realize that this easy feeling is not taken for granted. The band knows that summer will end someday soon and there will be a winter coming up, in which you’ll need every memory of drinks at the pool you can get hold of. Sure this record is about enjoying yourself, a way of enjoying the here and now which is conscious of the past with all its memories and the future with all those bad things that might be. This attitude makes it easy for the listener to feel understood, knowing there’s someone with him, unobtrusive but confidable. And you remember that there are some other records, often from the early eighties, often from england, bands like Fun Boy Three and Haircut 100, that have the same effect. These bands also avoided the rough sounds, but never were too escapist or drowned in dull melancholia. “Moon Safari”, the classic first record by Air with songs as “All I Need” comes to your mind as well. Obviously The Late Great Fitzcarraldos are no retro-band or epigones, they just deal gently with the long tradition of pop. It’s all good.
In the end their time is now and they created an album that really is uplifting. Because it knows about the downs.