Drugs, drinks and rock-and-roll: FIDLAR has it all on their debut
Punk rock is not dead — it just went surfing, jumped on a skateboard and railed a few lines of cocaine. Such is the case for Los Angeles’ FIDLAR, a toothsome four-piece punk band that’s nothing short of raucous on its eponymous debut, out today on Mom Pop Records.
From the band’s acronymic label FIDLAR, which stands for Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk, to its decidedly DIY-sounding ethos, FIDLAR is the antithesis to the mainstream pretension that’s indicative of the “indie” label in L.A. Like Death Grips, with their don’t-give-a-fuck nature that garnered them the ire of the music industry when they raised a large and noisy middle finger to its major label Epic, back in October, FIDLAR seems to care as little about the semantics of being a household name.
That carefree approach, laced with PCP references and burned-out odes to skateboarding, is evident all throughout its self-titled release. The opening track “Cheap Beer” is as youthful as songs come these days, with its surf punk single-string guitar line, brash distortion and staccato chorus of “I drink cheap beer / so what / fuck you.”
It’s a song that’s made to be sung in loud settings while drunk with friends — a recipe that’s easily lost today on chill wave elevator music and trap rap anthems. Beer is made for punk rock, and punk rock is made for beer.
FIDLAR doesn’t slow down from there. Though at times the tempo might plod along a bit more than other tracks, like on “Max Can’t Surf” or “Gimme Something,” it doesn’t render the album any less infectious.
However, it’s the instrumentation that’s decidedly Californian. In the vein of a hedonistic Best Coast that’s traded Bethany Cosentino for a Joan Jett incarnation, FIDLAR utilizes watery tremelo and spacey reverb to its benefit. That musical approach gives a song like “No Waves” a feel that wouldn’t be out of place in a surf video, even if its lyrics embody the apathy of a teenage drug addict.
The album’s theme of rampant alcohol and drug use is abrading at times, as there’s not a single song that doesn’t reference at least one hard drug or booze-soaked mantra, but this isn’t an album to be digested for its lyricism.
It’s made for sepia-toned afternoons lost in a blissed-out haze, or nights where all you want to do is take shots at the bar. FIDLAR isn’t for the faint of heart, and its stellar debut tells you such — either you drink up and get down, or you get the hell out of the way.