When I read that #peegate was a thing, I didn’t immediately think of a (pseudo-) politician. Instead, the beat up, drugged up, and almost completely lonely individual that LA-based Skate-Punk band Fidlar constructs was what came up. This figure would urinate on everything, from lettuce on your Wendy’s order to your lawn, and they’d feel a slight tinge of disappointment in themselves, then not think about it. Hard drugs would end their day. They’d pass out and start again.
That was Fidlar’s self-titled release in a nutshell. In its simplicity, it was a Ramones record with many drug references and catty yells. Too is another story, not completely different, yet with some personal growth to call it a sophomore release.
“40 oz On Repeat” starts with incessant whining and hard rocking guitar chords. It would be giving too much credit to say that the song is about America’s failure to alleviate financial issues, yet the bluntness of the band, and a possible remembering of scenes from the movie Clerks adds to the satisfaction on the listener’s end. The faux gentleness that’s brought to the table, as well as the sob story that vocalist Zac Carper hashes out, brings out something substantial out of the constant whining. It’s something relatable and worth crying about. “Punks” feels like it was pulled off a trailer where way too much action is happening on-screen. Ultimately, the band’s shift in sound at the end of the song riffs against relationships. In the daze that are these final minutes is the feeling of tired anger, one where masturbating in bed is what matters.
“West Coast” gets you loose enough to jam around your problems. The guitars are light and catchy. It’s the road trip song for the bailer, the failure, and the loner. “Why Generation” has a surf rock vibe to it. It’s annoying chorus is something that, if millennials were to sing it joyfully, there would be irony to the situation, showing that the band has an awareness that’s clever.
“Sober,” unfortunately, is a track where the whiner screams in your ear like you were at the other end of a phone call. Withdrawal sucks is the name of the game–again. “Leave Me Alone” has a self-awareness to it that’s bothersome: the whiner acknowledges he’s whiny and tells you that he wants to stay that way. What becomes evident with regard to the effects inserted in the songs, is that there isn’t enough control in their use. Bleeps, echoes, and keys are added for the sake of adding them, not having real purpose. “Overdose,” thankfully, has weakened vocals over a swampy guitar. The singer wants to rock, but he can’t because of his overdose. He talks about the voices in his head, an aspect that comes out of the blue and would’ve been something interesting to explore further. At its end, his screams become fused with the noise of the instrumentation.
“Hey Johnny” and “Stupid Decision” feel like good punk, similar to American Idiot-era Green Day. The problem with “Bad Habits” is that it delivers a revelation that makes sense, but it wasn’t built up to at all. Spoiler alert: He’s becoming his dad!
Is our subject going to reach rehab in the transition between Too and the next release? It’s nice to have the album talk about the you–about the other people and the consequences affecting them that’s caused by the character–so it’s good to have this album not be constant ranting. But Fidlar sound like they are building a trilogy rather than separate albums. Development would be seen in the grasp of effects. We’re following someone who’s erratic, not sterile.
Dustin Ragucos is a writer of things fictional, poetic, and musical. His main loves include Death Grips and Indie music. Dustin’s blog is host to a weekly blurb about albums old and new.