The first few sounds of what would become the debut record from North Georgia-based weirdo pop outfit Dizzy Fish all originated in Griffin Stover’s girlfriend’s apartment. Over this past summer, Stover, along with guitarist Jake Gibson and bassist Chris Allen, laid out the bones of the band’s sound, with each musician adding his own spectacular impulses in service to Dizzy Fish. Stover met Gibson while in college and knew him to be a technically gifted lead guitarist, spurred by the same musical tendencies that drive him. Allen, on the other hand, is a longtime friend who knows the odd places that Stover often ventures and is comfortable following him into those murky places.
To fit their high-spirited, mutant pop, they named the band Dizzy Fish, as they feel that the moniker encapsulates all the strange and eccentric emotions that they explore in great detail. Their work is braced in the lore of classic pop but warped almost beyond recognition. As much as they adore the music of bands like The Beach Boys and The Kinks, it seems that they also heavily favor the deconstructed psych pop of artists such as Olivia Tremor Control and The Apples in Stereo.
And you can hear the clash of both a pop classicism and more experimental investigations in every song across their new record, “Orange,” a disorienting and dizzying burst of skewed melodic noise. Brief though each track’s tenure may be, the band packs in a tremendous amount of nuance and diversity—much in the same way that Guided By Voices crammed records such as “Alien Lanes” and “Bee Thousand” full of fascinating rhythmic minutiae.
Though a few songs approach the three-minute mark, the band seems far more comfortable trekking through truncated surrealistic landscapes and impressionistic sketches than stretching a song out past its welcome. “Orange” is most reminiscent of albums residing in the deeper histories of the Elephant 6 Collective, a group of bands from Denver and Athens whose work lays strewn somewhere between The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and Can. An invigorating experience, the album veers between genres in a reckless bid to break free of the gravity of its influences; and in that regard, it easily casts off that weight and replaces it with a singular wit and musical awareness.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employee