FIDLAR’s unabbreviated name is Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk. Their debut LP’s scrappy skate punk and garage rock had lyrics such as “I drink cheap beer, so what? Fuck you” and “I just wanna get really high / Smoke weed until I die.” I saw lead vocalist Zac Carper at Reading Festival wearing a DIY tee with the words “STRAIGHT EDGE” crossed out – he dedicated a song to rehab because “rehab sucks.” You get the idea.
Sophomore album Too begins with lead single 40.oz On Repeat which is undeniably catchy and high energy. FIDLAR get back to the garage in second track Punks, which is raucous, riff-driven rock and probably the best cut from the album, alongside Leave Me Alone. Punks is actually a song they wrote years ago originally titled The Punks Are Finally Taking Acid, which might be an apt way to describe some of FIDLAR’s tendencies on this LP.
It’s difficult to summarise this album without oversimplifying because it’s stylistically all over the place, but there are some standout features. Too is loud, but instrumentally it’s fuzzy and undefined in places, comparable to artists like Ty Segall or Thee Oh Sees. Sometimes the fuzz lets up to be replaced by jangly and wonky guitar lines which almost always serve to be exploded by the next compressed chorus. In many of the songs, feedback leaks over the composition to make it suitably messier. It was a part of the concept of their debut LP that darker themes were covered with playful hooks, but in Too FIDLAR actually indulge in the chaos of their sound even more. Zac sounds on the verge of frenzy and his lyrics are self-confessional and unfiltered, though still singularly dumb, which is some light relief (“I think I need help ‘cause I’m playing with myself at least three times a day”).
Elsewhere the album flags a bit, such as on West Coast, a misplaced indie radio-sounding song, or Hey Johnny which empties many of the album’s good traits to leave a filler track lacking appeal. There is also Sober, which contains the lyric “Life just sucks when you get sober”. This might be self-referential in regards to the track because it’s the worst song on the album.
FIDLAR’S Too isn’t a stand-alone statement – the ethos of the band demands that it’s always writing or touring or sharing, and that the listener is participant in the addled journey. Some of the songs even predate the band’s first LP, kept alive by a dedicated fanbase and now reissued. As a part of FIDLAR’S discography, Too is a success. As an isolated effort, it’s fun to listen to, catchy but substantial. FIDLAR like to get fucked up, but this time they’ve delivered a natural high.