Album Review – Fidlar: ‘Fidlar’

“”FUCK IT DOG, LIFE’S A RISK!””

Ancient mythology has it that this proverb was conjured up by the skateboarding demi-gods and has been passed on from generation to generation of concrete carving hooligans, using these 6 words to justify their potentially bone shattering antics.

This phrase has been transformed into the acronym FIDLAR, and the message embodied by a group of four skate punk buddies from LA. From their humble beginnings as a gang of best mates Zac Carp, Elvis Kuehn, Brandon Schwartzel and Max Kuehn have come a long way since they decided to start making music together. Much like a skater throwing himself off a steep ramp, FIDLAR have dived head-first into the surging California garage punk scene. On the tail of EP’s ‘DIYDUI’, ‘No Waves’ and a large online buzz, their self-titled full length debut is here.

For any first-time FIDLAR listeners, the foursome make their taste for decadence immediately apparent on opening track ‘Cheap Beer’, the first verse of the album goes a little something like this; “Getting fucked up on the 101/ Shooting narcotics and having fun/ 40 beers later and a line of speed/ Eight ball of coke and a half-pound of weed…”

This is soon followed up by the anthemic chant “I. Drink. Cheap. Beer. So. What. Fuck You!” and duelling surfy guitar licks. Lyrically and musically this track sets the pace for the rest of the record. ‘Stoked and Broke’ builds on the lyrical themes established in ‘Cheap Beer’, in between mention of cutting school to “cocaine and shitty pills” lies this gem; “I just wanna get really high/ Smoke weed until I die/ I don’t ever wanna get a job… There’s nothing wrong with living like this/ All my friends are pieces of shit.” 

For a self-proclaimed bunch of delinquents, these dudes really know how to make some sick rock and roll. Drummer Max Kuehn and brother/guitarist Elvis Kuehn are extremely tight and are at the core of FIDLAR’s grungy surf sound, they relentlessly pound away through ‘White on White’ and before you know it you are tossed straight into ‘No Waves’ (whether a nod to similar project Wavves, who knows). Lo-fi, punk charm reigns supreme on ‘Whore’ and ‘Max Can’t Surf’, which surprisingly tells tales of a betraying whore, and Max the drummer’s inability to surf and not be a ginger. ‘Wake Bake Skate’ reinforces the band’s wild lifestyle in a raging one minute and forty four second blur. Watch the video for ‘Wake Bake Skate’ :

‘Gimmie Something’ explores a more acoustic sound which really works for FIDLAR, creating one of the catchier tunes on the album and displaying their potential for variety very early on in the band’s young career. However, this style is soon despatched in a vulgar return to their frantic ways in ‘5 to 9’ and ‘Lda’. ‘Paycheck’ and ‘Cocaine’ round out the record in fitting fashion, with more homage paid to drugs and having no money.

FIDLAR’s debut effort displays a balls to the wall frantic energy mixed with debauchery and hedonism so potent Hunter S. Thompson would be smiling from the grave. They are definitely in the music business for a good time, bringing Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll to the new school.

Must hear tracks:

Listen: ‘Cheap Beer

Listen: ‘Stoked and Broke

Listen: ‘Wake Bake Skate

Listen: ‘Gimmie Something’

Listen: ‘Cocaine’

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