Loutish, drugs-fuelled fare from presently two-dimensional LA punks.
Alex Denney 2013
FIDLAR cribbed their name from a phrase rife on California’s skateboarding scene, “F*** It Dog, Life’s A Risk”. Fair to say Confucius won’t be turning in his grave at that one, though in light of the phenomenal drink-and-drug intake documented on their debut, perhaps “YOLO” would have been more appropriate.
Setting the scene on this eponymous album with “40 beers and a line of speed … eight ball of blow and half a pound of weed”, the Los Angeles punkers finish with a spot of cocaine for breakfast... and find time for all manner of debauchery in between.
Mostly, FIDLAR take to their bad behaviour like most people take to a warm bath. The Cramps-ish, aforementioned first track, Cheap Beer, is a brutally effective kiss-off to LA’s holier-than-thou straight-edge kids. “I drink cheap beer, so what? F*** you!” barks frontman Zac Carper.
Stoked and Broke is, perhaps, a touch more ambivalent in its addled defiance: “Getting head in a broken car with the windows up and the lights turned off / There is nothing wrong with living like this, all my friends are pieces of s***.”
If anything, White on White (wonder what that one’s about?) throws itself even harder at the wall – it’s a whipcrack hail of turbo-charged, Misfits riffing. No Waves is a rehab anthem that, true to perverse form, is one of the peppiest things on here. Wake Bake State is in a similar vein, as catchy as it is exhaustingly stupid, and Whore is an ugly diss to an ex, lamely echoing the Misfits’ Attitude.
Blackout Stout and Wait for the Man are rote garage-rock detours, and the album’s back-end wobbles from rootsier fare to Jimmy Eat World-style pop-punk. But just occasionally the band drops hints that they might have a future beyond this loutish, two-dimensional debut.
It’s Cocaine that channels FIDLAR’s deadbeat hedonism into something emotionally committed. Darker than what precedes it, it’s like a punkified, pre-Zen Beastie Boys, and might be the nastiest-sounding drug ditty since Queens of the Stone Age’s Feel Good Hit of the Summer.
The closer comprises a deserved hangover, if you will, to a seriously messy night out.