Life in the suburbs can be tough. Quiet nights in the shadow of a city, it’s a sort of half-way point for a whole range of different people stuck in life’s up and downs. It’ll be the place where city workers go to retreat from the madness, a step back from the incessant pace of life scattered across roads and junctions that never sleep, surrounded by a never-ending cycle of pressure and parties. For a few, it’s a natural direction they find when the city spits them out, churning them into a mess that can’t stand what its become and now has to pick up the pieces on the outskirts rather than trying to rebuild within.
Yet, for kids - the suburbs are something else. A hopeful yet spacious place to discover who they really are, learning and loving within their quiet evening streets. About walking between friends houses and tackling broken hearts, celebrating that confusing time where becoming an adult meets the unabashed freedom of being young. That life, and those vital moments of suburban hope are where we find Dizzy, the sort of band capturing what it’s like to be lost - because sometimes being lost is exactly where we need to be.
For Dizzy, that’s Oshawa in Ontario, Canada - a General Motors town where thousands work in the car business, and aside from that there’s not much going on. It’s a playground that’s both a benefit and a hindrance, where although they didn’t have fun hidden around every corner, they could have the freedom to find themselves.
“It’s a ‘make your own fun’ type of place,” explains drummer Charlie Spencer, one of three brothers (the others being Alex and Mackenzie) who help make up the band with lead singer Katie Munshaw. “Music was one of the only outlets for us; it was between that and sports really.”
“Yeah,” jumps in Katie. “Like, I grew up with a lot of different things in my life. I played a lot of sports, did theatre - so music wasn’t always at the top of my list. I was actually going to go away to a school to do theatre, and Charlie and I were thinking ‘maybe we should give this music thing a try, I think we have something’. But it definitely wasn’t the main thing.”
Theatre school’s loss is our gain. Dizzy are the sort of band who bottle an emotion or feeling - something so innocent and universal that it takes them to a whole different realm. That pull of first love, of having your heart broken and not knowing what on earth that kick in your stomach is, or bonding over late-nights and cheeky cigarettes around the backs of houses, Dizzy aren’t afraid to bare it all. Across deft grooves and chilling swoons, they soundtrack it all to a tee.
“Katie and I were writing songs together,” explains Charlie, looking back on how the group came together. “It came to a point where we could only go so far! Luckily, the others were right there, and as three brothers who’d played together for years, that dynamic was already in place, so it was more about bringing this into focus. The first time we got into the basement and started playing some stuff, we were like, ‘Yeah, this sounds good’. This is going to work, y’know?”
From the age of 14, that kinship was there between Katie and Charlie, and its blossoming became what Dizzy is today. Born out of those uncertain years of feeling confused and going through those momentous coming of age moments in life, debut album ‘Baby Teeth’ feels like more of a natural documentation of that time more than most.
Rather than the glorified headiness, it’s a raw reflection - ‘Stars And Moons’ is a weaving cocktail of love’s hardships and blooming joys, ‘Swim’ is a swaggering blend of electronics and sky-cutting guitars that rise and rise into a mesmeric whole, ‘Pretty Thing’ is doe-eyed in young love and those wayward crushes that come with being near someone close, ‘Joshua’ may be a new defining heartbreak anthem and ‘In Time’ is a nostalgic ode to memories of a more innocent time. Everything is felt - every delicate line and flashback - a collective reckoning of what it means to go through it all and come out the other side with at least some sense of optimism intact.
“It’s all a challenge,” notes Katie, stopping to think about how these memories and stories have led them to where they are today.
“We’re all pretty introverted people, so having to take these songs and get up in front of a lot of people, it’s kinda out of our comfort zone, but we’re learning, and I think we’re all feeling a lot more comfortable now.”
Dizzy are onto something. That blend of emotional storytelling and spiralling, but uplifting openness in the music they make is an immediate pull - following in the footsteps of the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and Alvvays in taking everyday life and moulding it into something more. Over the past few years, it’s been a moulding process for sure, but now they sit on the cusp of releasing a debut album.
“Like, we’ve been sitting on these songs for so long that we got a little bit bored of them,” confesses Katie, “but when you release them, and they become this new thing, you realise that people do like them and it’s not just us. It’s interesting.”
“I think we knew who we were; I think it was more getting our strategy straight and getting our live sound to be the way we wanted it to be,” flows Charlie, thinking about why now is the moment Dizzy are finally ready to take on the world. “It’s very much a studio record, and we didn’t want to put the album out and jump on a stage to play something that’s nothing like it.”
With album number one about to make its way into the world, Dizzy are already looking firmly at what comes next. “For me, I want to figure out if we can do a second album and be proud of it,” notes Katie, “and whether it can be as good as the record we’ve made now. That’s the goal.”
“And to move out of my parents’ house.”
If ‘Baby Teeth’ is anything to go by, Katie and Dizzy are about to head far away from the suburbs that made them. A record of unflinching beauty, and a band able to soundtrack emotions in a way very few can - they’re about to have more than a few people in a spin.
Taken from the September issue of Dork. Dizzy’s debut album ‘Baby Teeth’ is out now.
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