90FM Album Review: FIDLAR – (self-titled)
Jesse Hinze

L.A. group FIDLAR has, it seems, brought punk music back from the dead on their self-titled debut album, a snotty rollicking affair that has been long awaited by the devoted fan base built upon their two e.p.’s released over the last year and a half. Although at times they can sound like your by the numbers punk band, with their piss poor attitudes towards life and affinity for drugs and alcohol, Fidlar has achieved something far above basic, even if basic was, in all probability, exactly what they were shooting for.


Coming off as a twisted cousin of Pavement (secretly great at making music with a chorus) crossed with Black Flag (as hard as they come), FIDLAR has taken the formula that made Waves popular and outdid them handily, creating a punk/pop conglomeration with a substance. Lyrically, they play at themes commonly covered in their genre, bemoaning their lack of cash and women but lacking the work ethic or inclination to really pursue them due to the attractiveness of distracting substances, both legal and illegal. 

The best songs on the album, “Cheap Beer”, “Max Can’t Surf”, and “Whore” all present truly what FIDLAR is, 4 dudes in their early twenties who will ingest anything in their general circumference that will alter their brain while creating a rough and rugged sound that will make your feet tap, even if it isn’t consensual to your usual musical sensibility. But for me, the albums closing track, “Cocaine” truly pushes this album over the top, presenting a classic blues standard reinvented as a heavy, guitar distorted anthem, making one take another look at basic twelve bar blues in a vein similar to the way in the mid-sixties the British did, with groups like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the Jeff Beck Group pushing acoustic blues into the electric realm. Despite comparisons that may seem sacrilegious, FIDLAR has that something that turns average bands into the ones worth hearing, while retaining what makes them relatable, which is no small feat.