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Flood In The Fizzy Factory, Flood In The Fizzy Factory 

Album Review

click to enlarge 081308-cdreview-flood.jpg

(Self-released, CD)

Some of the last ripples of New Wave, or something resembling it, have washed up on the shores of Lake Champlain. And Burlington’s Flood in the Fizzy Factory are scraping up the suds. Their self-titled CD, recorded live in front of a sparse crowd at Higher Ground in July, marks the group’s full-length debut. But the record might be better described as a kind of mock-up: an irregular and unpolished preamble to a band just finding its niche.

Flood in the Fizzy Factory is not as nearly as frenzied as their name may imply — their aesthetic is technically basic. While earnest and principally well intentioned, they are also gracelessly unrefined on this debut. Such is one of the disastrous pitfalls of the drum machine.

The contraption is held at such high regard in the group as to warrant a first name: Sherman. The human contingent, singer-guitarist Dave Kleh and keyboardist Jim White, croon in puddles of deep reverb over Sherman’s tinny pops.

There are heavy doses of ’80s influence throughout. “Trouble on the High Seas” bops around courtesy of Sherman’s electric reggae encoding and a distinctly Men At Work-style synthesized melody resembling a robotic flute.

“One Day” is another throwback to the halcyon days of the Reagan administration, for those who feel like reminiscing. White’s cavernous synth envelops the echo of Kleh’s bashful, soft-spoken annunciation.

But by “Never Been There,” the formula begins to get a little stale. In this reminiscence of an encounter with a French woman who lauds Reno, Sherman begins to reach its limits, while Kleh bravely staggers forward. “Life goes on everyday / Like a party,” he sings.

The band is almost winging it by record’s end. In “Obscure,” Kleh abandons his guitar to bust out elementary rhymes about a shabby apartment over a tired beat and a chorus of electronic burps.

No matter how retro-bizarre or experimental they get on this debut, Flood in the Fizzy Factory always seem to be enjoying themselves — a sentiment echoed by those who have attended their performances. The group plays at The Monkey House in Winooski this Friday, August 15, with new drummer Jim Fitzmorris, whose human presence can only be considered a welcome improvement.

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