The band FIDLAR, who released their self-titled debut in January, has not put much effort into differentiating themselves from every other surf band who calls California home.
FIDLAR is loud and would like everyone to know how much they enjoy the beach and getting high.
What sets them apart from the pack, however, is how rudely they deliver this message. Try comparing them to fellow LA native Beth Consentino of Best Coast, who laments over wishing her cat, Snacks, could speak and the fact her fling is taking her weed.
Then there’s FIDLAR singer Zac Carp, who would like everyone to know in the album’s opener he drinks “cheap beer, so what,” which is followed by a few shouts of well-known explicit words.
While the record isn’t very original, and it’d be a stretch to even call it good, “FIDLAR” is as addictively catchy as the substances that cameo into most their songs.
The band, whose name is an acronym for the skater saying, “F*ck it Dog, Life’s a Risk” is composed of Carp, Brandon Schwartzel and brothers Elvis and Max Kuehn, the sons of T.S.O.L’s Greg Kuehn.
The four-piece began playing together in 2009 and, like most groups of their generation, released a set of demos through the Internet.
In the spring of 2011, FIDLAR released a four song EP, “DIYDUI,” with White Iris Records. Three of those songs, “No Waves,” “Wake Bake Skate” and “Wait for the Man,” appear on the full-length album with a few tweaks here and there.
“Wake,” with its slowed down tempo and peppy guitar lead, is the most changed, with new tracks “Cheap Beer” and “Cocaine” borrowing from its original energy.
“FIDLAR” crams 14 songs and one hidden track into the album’s 39 minutes. Like most punk bands, it lacks a whole lot of variety and almost all of the tracks follow the same fuzzed-up three-chord progression.
Songs “Stoked and Broke” and “Paycheck” can easily be skipped over and unmissed. They aren’t bad, but songs with sluggish guitars and woozy singing are one in a thousand.
Despite this, and that FIDLAR’s sound is exactly like every other Californian band that came out of a garage, some of tracks off the “FIDLAR” are painfully catchy.
“No Waves,” with added little handclaps and barely-there keyboards, manages to stand on its own.
“Wait for the Man” has remained relatively unchanged from its original appearance on “DIYDUI,” and that’s a good thing.
“Gimmie Something” is the one-song exception where FIDLAR chooses to step away from their tried and tested formula, something that the band should do more of.
It’s also a track where Carp doesn’t sound like that kid who got high one time and now requires everyone to know about it.
This isn’t an album that requires a lot of thought while listening unless there is a philosophical reason to why the titular character of “Max Can’t Surf” can’t do so because he’s a ginger.
Otherwise, “FIDLAR” is solid and noisy debut record from a young band who still has time to figure out their own sound — as long as they don’t overdose first.