Written by: TL on 18/09/2015 17:17:59

L.A. punks FIDLAR gained some attention here in Denmark when they were announced to play at Roskilde Festival in 2013 and proceeded to put in an energetic and humoristic performance there. They're back this year with album number two - titled "Too", ha.. ha.. - which is a curious record, because on one hand, it's clear that FIDLAR wants to come across as trashy and garage-sounding as possible, but there's hardly anything lo-fi about the recording quality, nor about the vocals, which manage to maintain an impressively clear diction while shifting from scratched screaming into a mocking drawl and back.

Not that those should be held against the album at all. It might mean it isn't truly as punk to the core as it could be, but that's actually a relief, because it gives you a chance to hear what's going on musically and what the songs are about. And to FIDLAR's credit, they get around more musically than most comparative bratty (pop-)punk bands. The opener "40oz. On Repeat" sounds like garage pop, while "Punks" changes gear immediately with a proper boogie-rocking wall banger of a riff, churning away under screamed vocals. Then "West Coast" follows with a happy power-pop vibe, and though these nuances are all connected with the band's off-kilter core sound, one of the joys of listening to the album is to hear how the band picks up and toys with various ideas like this.

Regrettably, this joy isn't really supported by lyrics that are either particularly captivating or even funny. Ok, so it is hardly surprising that FIDLAR are slackers, that is sort of their image, but after one or two trips through the album, any semi-mature listener will probably start questioning how many songs we need about being either drunk, on drugs or both. The best you can say about FIDLAR's lyrics is that they convincingly bring across the hazy, incoherent concerns you likely try to piece together, when you sense that you're doing too many substances, but you're too foggy to do anything about it right now.

As an album then, "Too" is the kind of record that seems pretty energetic, fun and eclectic on first listen, but when you eventually try to spend some in-depth time on it, it's a bit like trying to hang out sober with someone who's way stoned. You can bang your head to "Punks" and you can fantasize about escaping the triviality of your life during "West Coast", but the rest of the record sort of moves in closed circles, with FIDLAR recognising that maybe they're a bit too fucked up, then getting defensive about it, then recognising it again, rinse, quirky garage-riff, repeat. Does it have a sort of trashy charm to it? Granted it does, but it just loses its novelty quite quickly on closer inspection.


Download: Punks, West Coast
For The Fans Of: PUP, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Hives, Chixdiggit

Release date 04.09.2015
Mom + Pop Music

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