For Fans Of
Lo-fi garage, surf punk, indie, stoner rock… throw whatever labels you want at California’s FIDLAR and it won’t accomplish much. Why? Well, let’s just say trying to box these guys into neat genre categories is a waste of energy. They sing about being broke, stoned, pissed, and living life in the heat of the moment. The band’s carefree attitude is supposed to be soaked up and enjoyed, not held up to a microscope and overanalysed.
The name FIDLAR is an acronym for ‘fuck it, dog, life’s a risk’, the skateboarding equivalent of the YOLO maxim. If it wasn’t already obvious, this should give you a hint at what to expect from the scruffy quartet’s self-titled debut. That’s right – this is weed-bleached rock & roll played with an I’m-way-too-high-to-give-a-shit-about-anything slacker mentality. It’s dirty, gritty and happily wallows around in its own snotty imperfections.
There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking going on here, but then again, it’s not as though FIDLAR set out to reinvent the wheel. The band wears their influences on tattered sleeves and make up for a lack of originality with plenty of bravado. Even a cursory listen to the album reveals a tip of the cap to fellow bong-enthusiasts Wavves on ‘Max Can’t Surf’, a tongue-in-cheek ode to drummer Max Kuehn’s lack of balance. Elsewhere, ‘Stoked And Broke’ could be mistaken for a Hive’s B-side, while opener ‘Cheap Beer’ will no doubt draw comparisons to Black Lips.
But want to know what makes the album particularly endearing? It’s fun. It’s as simple as that. There’s no flashy studio trickery or indie pretentiousness here, just no-bullshit rock & roll wrapped up in cone-ripping shenanigans. Just check out a track like ‘Wake Bake Skate’ – it’s got to be the happiest sounding song about being a complete fuckup (“Do a bunch of drugs I’m a fiend and an addict/All methed up watching television static,” shouts vocalist Zac Carper on the self-deprecating jingle). Try listening to it without grinning from ear to ear. Yeah, it’s almost impossible.
Buried amongst all the silliness and references to popping pills and getting high are some standout pop gems. ‘No Waves’ and ‘Wait For The Man’ are both short and sharp, packed with summery hooks that warrant repeated plays. They prove FIDLAR aren’t as dumb as they look; these guys can write songs every bit as memorable as they are off-the-wall manic.
Crammed full of songs about getting high, getting drunk, and generally not giving a shit, FIDLAR’s debut album is a lot of fun. It’s raw, scuzzy and stripped-down stuff that will appeal to disenfranchised Gen Y kids, the type who are sick of the glitz and gloss of mainstream rock. Chuck it on and crank it up.
1. Cheap Beer
2. Stoked And Broke
3. White On White
4. No Waves
6. Max Can’t Surf
7. Blackout Stout
8. Wake Bake Skate
9. Gimmie Something
10. 5 to 9
13. Wait For The man