9 Sep 2015

FIDLAR / Too (album review)

After a whole two years since their self titled debut, FIDLAR come back with Too, exactly what you'd expect; a skate punk album fuelled with energy, angst, drinks and drugs.

When the first single 40oz On Repeat was released, as well as being the first track on Too, it was obvious this album was going to be just as fast paced and exciting as FIDLAR. 40oz On Repeat’s lyrics are incredibly bittersweet, but even with the hopelessness is Carter’s vocals this song is definitely an anthem at every FIDLAR gig. It’s the sort of song you can shout along to when you feel shit and it will actually make you feel better, which is probably exactly the way the band feel when singing it, because the year or two before the release of this record were pretty bittersweet.

Punks is next with 10 x more anger and bite. Every lyric is screamed making this song much much heavier than any other tracks on the album, but even so the backing of melodic guitars ease the force of Carter's ferocious vocals.

West Coast, a revamped older track, could easily be the soundtrack to any rebellious teenage summer. I think the lyrics are so clever as most people can relate to “I should try get a life / but I don’t want that 9 to 5” at some stage in their life.

After the pace of the first 3 songs the start of Why Generation is a bit of a break, however seeing as this is FIDLAR, the relaxed feel doesn’t last long and as the chorus kicks in so does the energy and noise. There’s definite development in this song, especially in the verses where there is more concentration on the melody than the energy. On the other end of the seriousness spectrum, Sober, their pop-punk influences such as blink-182 come across specifically in the argument-like narration at the beginning.

Producer Jay Joyce’s work is apparent in Leave Me Alone with the sharply defined, blues-esque bass line, and the cleaner sound to the drop rather than the slightly dirty feel their debut has. Don’t get me wrong though, this song is still part of the wonderful garage punk that FIDLAR are known and loved across the country for.

Overdose is incredibly emotionally caustic, unlike the previous FIDLAR songs that show drug use as a social, fun experience. FIDLAR show the darker side to substance abuse with this song; “I’m just gonna stay stuck inside my head / And I just wish that i was dead”. The single guitar notes that play throughout the song make the song sound rawer and the vocals even more vulnerable. Especially towards the end the quartet use distortion and repetition which create an incredibly dark atmosphere to the song which really powerful.

The simple vocal style on Hey Johnny mean this song wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Lips album. There is quite a release of tension in this song after the heaviness of Overdose which they do so well with the surfey guitar riffs.

The lyrics in the whole album have a slight sour twist but the regret certainly comes out in Stupid Decisions. The reflective tone is clear from the start in the steady bass and slow, relaxed drum beat.
FIDLAR can’t keep the more grown up tone going for very long as in the next song Bad Medicine the energy is back in the fuzzy guitar and fast pace.

Bad Habits caps off the album on quite a sombre tone, but still feels huge and like a future live favourite because of the way the guitars disappear and then come back punchier and stronger than ever towards the end. It does however highlight how the band aren’t just a group of teenagers anymore and are starting to think about facing being adults - it's not all just teenage angst, but a lot of genuine worry about their future comes through in their music.

FIDLAR have come on massively since their debut album as the songs on that all are quite similar, whereas Too explores different styles, and also can get quite emotional at times. It's a much more ambitious album, but if you liked the first FIDLAR album, you'll probably love this.


(written by isobel mcleod)