posted: January 21, 2013
Never mind that the two main parties in the U.S. government won’t compromise for the common good, that unchecked global warming increasingly devastates food supplies and environmental balances, that debt-induced recession looms over the international marketplace, and that tensions in the Middle East continue to spiral beyond control.
None of the issues matter. Hell, none even exists in FIDLAR’s universe, a half-baked world in which surfing, sex, sleeping, smoking, drinking, and drugs comprise the totality of existence. Such subjects have long informed raucous rock and roll, and often, serve as conduits for frustration and rebellion. Yet these four Los Angeles burnouts convey the chaos on their buzzed-about self-titled debut as if it’s a life choice.
Save for the betrayal of a girlfriend, FIDLAR’s youthful members revolt against nothing else than running out of dope or realizing they’re broke. Several obvious punk-related reference points—early Replacements, Descendents, Black Flag, early Green Day—largely figure into their pawn-shop guitar distortion and out-of-tune cacophony. The slightly humorous juvenilia and apathetic attitude would soon be forgettable, but then, the band’s combustible hooks and sawed-off melodies take over.
FIDLAR sounds aggressive and, on fare such as the defiant “Cheap Beer” and insubordinate “White on White,” borderline angry. However, these skateboarders aren’t mad about much; they have no reason to be. No wonder nearly every song comes off as the theme for a house party at which everything and everyone gets trashed, and nobody pays any mind. Who needs responsibility or a job? FIDLAR’s only concerns relate to amusement, self-satisfaction, and scoring the next high. Usually, the three aims are interwoven.
DARE graduates FIDLAR are not. Cocaine, weed, smack, PCP, 8-ball: FIDLAR is littered with more drug references than Motley Crue’s career. Just don’t expect any hair-metal glamour. Aimlessness, homelessness, and dirtiness infiltrate swirling, hyperactive declarations (“Wake Bake Skate”) and fuzz-encrusted screeds (“Blackout Stout”) that beg to be shouted in a sloshed mental state, Styrofoam cup of beer in hand.
Is all a joke meant in good fun? Perhaps. The pharmaceutical-laden narratives are certainly a long way from the TV-watching, masturbation, and boredom chronicled in “Longview.” Then again, every generation needs its own slacker heroes. And so it is with the entitlement crowd.
Drunken high-school revelers, class-ditching stoners, dead-end amateur dealers, and grown-ups refusing to confront reality (temporarily or permanently): FIDLAR welcomes you to your future. Now hand ‘em your joint.–Bob Gendron