One of the albums of the year.
Released: 4th September 2015
FIDLAR sit across the divide. Enough slacker West Coast cool to sit with the indie kids, make no mistake – at the heart of it, in their own imperfect way, Zac Carper’s crew are punk as fuck. Punk as fuck with an album so amazing it should shift enough units to immediately have them branded complete sell outs. Obviously.
The band’s previous self-titled debut full-length is no slouch. An immediate blast of adrenaline, fast food and intoxication on a budget, it’s the kind of album that becomes fast friends on the first listen. But ‘Too’ – that’s something else entirely. No fat, no pretence, no high art – its nothing short of a masterpiece.
To attempt to unravel its magic would only ruin the spell. Petulant swagger, anthemic brilliance – in their own way, this is FIDLAR’s big moment, just without any concessions to lazy radio friendly fodder lesser peers would entertain. Instead, they tap into the kind of dumb, skyscraper sized abandon no other band does quite as well.
Take ‘West Coast’ – a demo plucked from an early EP, polished up and turned into the kind of impossible no-fucks-given cool that instantly sounds both dollar store cheap and impossibly expensive at the same time. It’s nothing short of huge. ‘Why Generation’ and it’s woozy verses explode into a chorus so catchy it was almost certainly extracted from the head of an errant Beatle with the munchies. ‘Drone’ is the rebellious fist pump that stands as the antithesis of every overblown slice of sixth form social commentary lesser bands may churn out, while ‘Punks’ explodes in an avalanche of classic riffs and screamed defiance. FIDLAR are not messing about.
And yet underneath the non-stop fun, there’s a darker heart. ‘Bad Medicine’, ‘Sober’, ‘Bad Medicine’ – the titles themselves hint at Carper’s demons. It’s to his credit that at no point does ‘Too’ ever feel like listening in on a free therapy session. Only on ‘Overdose’ is the pace fully slowed – a stalking confessional that, as heavy as it may get, never once feels awkward.
A party album from the top of the pile, with undertones of genuine personal trauma – the fact that FIDLAR made ‘Too’ work at all is remarkable. That they’ve made it into one of the albums of the year is nothing short of amazing. Stephen Ackroyd