Trying to compare Fitzsimon & Brogan to another artist in the current musical climate is a bit difficult since they really are their own voice. The musical project based in London, and created by songwriter Neil Fitzsimon, and vocalist Bee Brogan produce what they unabashedly claim to be “pure pop for now people.” The two were previously part of a band called Pretty Blue Gun which featured A-listed musicians, and had its critically acclaimed albums produced by Pat Collier, who produced Katrina and the Waves’ international hit, ‘Walking on Sunshine’. During 2018 we witnessed the ascension of Fitzsimon & Brogan onto the industry and media radar with their celebratory 13 track album, “Big Blue World”. This September we will see the duo jump straight back under the spotlight with a brand new album, title “The Girl Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World”.
This is such a great album, it has everything I love about today’s music mixed up with the style and emotion of the 80’s and early 90’s…and even a little further back. The songs on this recording are all catchy and you will be listening to them over and over and perhaps even singing them from the get go, without even knowing it. Fitzsimon & Brogan may have just succeeded in making the most entertaining album of the year. There’s plenty sonic light and shade, as well as peaks and valleys of emotion, while the whole album hurtles ahead at 100 miles per hour of pure excitement.
From the moment “This Is Love” introduces the album, the melody, rhythm and harmony overwhelms. Bee Brogan is on top of her game driving the tunes straight to your heart. This time around the guitars are crunchier, the arrangements edgier, and the instrumentals tighter.
“Bliss” is an upbeat roller-coaster ride, embellished by the six string jangle, the handclap-inducing beat, and the strutting horns. The guitar takes the center stage on “Swoon”, twisting and thrusting its way to the forefront of the sound spectrum, and challenging Brogan for the spotlight.
There is a strong energy and chemistry which is ignited on “Someone I Know” as it captures the carefree spirit that makes this project so infectious. Moving forward through standout tracks like the indie-pop “Screamersville”, the slow burner “Privilege”, the sprawling delight of “This Girl”, and the kaleidoscopic “Smashing Time”, Fitzsimon & Brogan teach the modern music world that there is nothing wrong with melodic pop songs with relatable lyrics, musical hooks, structured arrangements, great choruses and neat vocals.
“Gentle Art of Making Enemies” and “The Girl Who Shouted Love” shows the band’s ability to vibe out in different flavors and enjoy their music without ever coming across as forced or formulaic. Notwithstanding the fact that they work within a very specific style and sound framework.
As if to purposefully contradict my previous statement, “Devil’s Dictionary” manifests itself within crunching indie rock territory – a song with a hard outer edge, and an even harder, unyielding underbelly. “Shall I Count The Ways” has a hushed swagger you’ll hardly find anywhere else in modern pop music.
What Neil Fitzsimon, and Bee Brogan truly excel at is mixing deeper storytelling into their exuberant pop sound. So it comes as a surprise when they drop their magnificent exuberance, haul out the acoustic guitars and roll out their poignant storytelling in a sweepingly gentle aura on the hidden track “Early Frost”.
It’s a beautiful moment, and plays out as a perfect counterpoint, to what I confirm to be the most entertaining pop album of the year. There is of course, still a few months left of the year, but I doubt anyone will even have the courage to come close to the classic pop standards set on “The Girl Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World”.