This ‘FIDLAR’ article was written by Sam Forsdick, a GIGsoup contributor
FIDLAR’s mantra of “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk” is an unambiguous statement, fully embodied by their eponymous debut. ‘FIDLAR’ was packed full of raucous punk riffs and lyrics about partying hard and living life close to the edge. On the follow up, entitled ‘Too’, FIDLAR have experimented with many of these core aspects and in doing so have produced a profoundly more polished record. Whilst this has allowed for greater diversity in their sound and in other respects it is a move for the worse. The songs on ‘FIDLAR’ had a lo-fi, live quality which added to the immediacy of the record; the grit, the sweat, the aural experience of grind and hectic live shows all poured forth from ‘FIDLAR’. For the follow up the band opted to use a producer, which inevitably smoothes out some of the rough edges that many people would prefer to be left on a garage-punk record.
Album opener and lead single, ‘40oz. On Repeat’, best exemplifies this change in style. It sounds like too much effort was put into trying to recapture the energy of their debut. The soft lamentation around one minute in breaks the song in half, taking away all the built-up energy from the first minute. Whilst the songs on their first album came across as fun and effortless, ‘40oz. On Repeat’ seems uninspired, over-thought and overproduced.
Similar criticisms can be made of ‘Why Generation’ and the petulant teenager impression on ‘Sober’ seems like a miscalculation, but fortunately this is not true of all the songs on Too. ‘West Coast’ successfully recaptures the exuberance of the first album that proved so infectious and brought the band both critical and public acclaim. Whilst the first half of the record contains somewhat inconsistent material, on the B side FIDLAR become more introspective, and in doing so demonstrate their undeniable talent much more effectively.
Lead singer Zac Carper has spoken quite candidly in recent interviews about his decision to stop taking the wild concoction of drugs that is documented in so much of their earlier work. The transition to sobriety is therefore a feature of many of his lyrics. ‘Overdose’ explores addiction as Zac delivers lines such as “Kickin’ and I’m screamin’ that I got a disease, Anything to get a fix” in an uneasy hushed voice before the song devolves into frantic guitars and anguished cries of “I can’t breathe!” This is a bold move for a band that has tended to not take itself too seriously. It is on tracks like ‘Overdose’, ‘Bad Medicine’ and ‘Bad Habits’ that FIDLAR are at their best; tackling personal issues they’ve faced with honesty and authenticity, whilst simultaneously retaining the tongue in cheek humour that they’re renowned for.
In consideration Too reveals a band caught in transition, unsure of whether to remain consistent or evolve and undecided whether the nights of hard partying remain worth the risk. This has resulted in an album that, although not without its fair share of good tracks, reflects FIDLAR’s current transformation through its inconsistency. However, championships are won by getting results when not at your best, as the saying goes, and releasing a good music whilst in a state of flux points to a promising future for FIDLAR.
‘Too’ will be available on 4th September 2015