Album Review: FIDLAR’S "FIDLAR" - LA Punks Take It To The Beach
Have you ever hummed the theme song to Hawaii Five-O and thought, “Man, I wish someone would start screaming over this”? Do you sometimes listen to Weezer and find yourself thinking, “Mmm, this is good but I wish these darn lyrics weren’t so deep and metaphorical”? (Sample Weezer lyric: “I've got an electric guitar / I play my stupid songs / I write these stupid words / And I love every one).
You should check out the LA surf-punk band FIDLAR.
“FIDLAR?” you ask. “As in, ‘fidlar on the roof?’”
No, no. In this case, FIDLAR is an acronym, which stands for Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk (a phrase made popular by skateboarders in FIDLAR’s hometown).
But I digress. FIDLAR’s debut self-titled album is a lot of fun. If you’re into surf rock, you’ll find snatches of Wavves and Best Coast here, except that FIDLAR make Wavves’ Nathan Williams look like a lil’ baby boy and would probably aggressively hit on Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino before ridiculing her to the point of tears.
Right off the bat, we get the party started with “Cheap Beer,” the chorus of which is “I drink cheap beer / so what / fuck you.” Surrounding this declaration of thriftiness are delicious Fender guitars and frontman Zac Carper’s distorted shouts. Think “Juice Box”-era Strokes turn 15, get a fake ID, and go to the beach.
The band really starts to stretch its legs on the track immediately after, “Stoked And Broke.” This one features some actual singing. When Carper explains, “I just wanna get really high / smoke weed until I die,” that might as well be the official slogan for FIDLAR, Inc. The band pounds through a four-chord blues progression until just past the two minute mark, leaving you wanting just a little more.
Moving onward, we step outside the party with the back-to-back placement of “No Waves” and “Whore,” the former being a narrator’s nervous morning-after admission to his own escalating drug use, and the latter being about, well, a girl who is a ho. But we’re back to the party by the eighth track, “Wake Bake Skate,” which comes in at 1:44 and does an excellent job of summing up the band’s priorities.
A few of the final tracks on the album branch out again, but by the final track, “Cocaine,” we’re back to business. Namely, getting high and running around, screaming at the world about how much you don’t give a fuck. Spring break, indeed.
Arguably, the most sincere moments on FIDLAR come in the guitar solos and fills of lead guitarist Elvis Kuehn, who keeps things tasteful and melodic, even as his bandmates fiend for a score. If you’re a guitarist, you’ll dig Kuehn’s reverb-laden, grungy tone and the way he fills the space around Harper’s itchy vocal deliveries. If you’re not, just take note of how often the band uses guitar solos between verses and choruses to give you some breathing room. You’ll definitely appreciate it.
Overall Review: It’s best not to think too hard about FIDLAR, and none of these songs will force you to do that. Crack a Modelo, cut the legs off of your jeans, and go sit on a porch somewhere. Summer is so close, and it’s time we all started passionately not giving any fucks.