Skate-punk band FIDLAR, an acronym for “Fuck It, Dog. Life’s A Risk”, released their second studio album Too on the 4th September this year. Known usually for making songs about lots of drugs, cheap alcohol, skating, surfing, and getting kicked out of apartments, their new album Too has a completely new vibe compared to their last album in 2013, which was self-entitled FIDLAR.
But before I get to the album review, it’s important to know some of the back story of Too: in 2013 FIDLAR were becoming more and more successful: having their music featured in GTA V and Saints Row IV, performing at Reading Festival for the first time, playing with bands like the Pixies and The Hives, releasing their first studio album. However in 2014 they went “off the grid, as a band, in terms of touring and putting out new music” (Zac Carper, frontman of FIDLAR, December 2014). According to DIY Mag, the band said that over 2014: Zac (guitar + vocals) and Brandon (bass + backing vocals) were evicted from their studio, Max (drums) got back into method acting and locked himself in his apartment for a year, and Elvis (lead guitar + vocals) spent all summer in a Mojave sweat lodge. To top it off, Zac fell into heavy substance abuse. Too reflects the problems that the band gained from partying every day on tour, and should be seen as the come-down to their first studio album.
Too starts with the first single that was released this year, “40oz on Repeat”. Lyrics include, “I thought if I cleaned up my act, it’ll help me understand who I am” showing how this album is about FIDLAR growing up, song titles such as “Sober”, “Overdose”, and “Bad Medicine” also follow this.
However the band’s style of badass blues riffs, heavy distortion, and fast-paced rhythm hasn’t disappeared. Their ability to get the crowd hyped also hasn’t changed, as they proved from playing on the main stage at Reading Festival this year, a big improvement from the Festival Republic stage in 2013.
On the other hand, tracks like “Why Generation” and “Leave Me Alone” feature cleaner vocals, slower pace, sounding more like Pixies or Weezer, and an overall calmer vibe that their previous releases haven’t really had much of. This could be an example of the band ‘growing up’: making fewer songs about skating and getting wasted, but making more songs about getting sober and reflecting on “stupid decisions”. However their new sound has had mixed views from fans. Some fans see the new album as ‘not FIDLAR’ because of the complete change of attitude, from quick, rowdy songs like “Cocaine” and “Wake Bake Skate” in FIDLAR (2013) to slower, more emotional songs like “Stupid Decisions” and “Bad Habits” in Too.
Other fans understand that this album is like a detox for FIDLAR – a fresh page for them. Personally, I like the mix of old and new styles that Too has to offer, compared to their first album which maintained one style. Although I love the first album for how raw it is, Too shows how the band has gained more experience and knowledge and as a result are getting the recognition they deserve.
I’ll be seeing FIDLAR play in Bristol on 10th November. They’re touring the UK and Europe this year, and I know that the crowd will be going crazy for both new and old songs no matter what they think of Too, proving that the “F*ck It” essence of FIDLAR hasn’t changed.