There are times when we all want to lay prostrate on the floor and weep as something light and melodic whispers it’s gentle acoustic lullaby to us as we think of the one who got away and hold a pillow close to our chests. There are also times when you get up from that position and realise you want to just drink beer, smash automatic doors off their hinges and end the night upside down at the bottom of a concrete staircase. Luckily, to cover the latter, there is FIDLAR.
FIDLAR are a four-piece punk outfit from Los Angeles and I use punk in the official sense, not as some kind of fashion campaign by Topshop. They took their name from the skater saying ‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk’ and although they won’t change the world on this first outing it is evidence that there is still room for a dumb and brutal rock album. This is a venture into feedback and riffery that isn’t particularly vogue at the moment but clearly doesn’t give a shit.
Opening track Cheap Beer drops in like Black Flag, it could drive you out to the desert and leave you for dead. The chorus (“I drink cheap beer, so what fuck you”) is fit to be screeched back to them in packed out, leather clad, sweaty clubs, or indeed as it turns out at festivals. FIDLAR were one of the stand out new bands at Reading and Leeds 2012. Before it can get tiring it is over, in The Ramones sensibility of songwriting. It’s nothing complicated but it just works. It creates an impact that is often overlooked when everything is studio-produced to mediocrity. There’s something straight and genuine about these songs. This isn’t an act. When Zac Carper hollers the lyrics to Whore, you buy it, you feel it.
There are some obvious anthems to be taken from the album, most notably ‘Wake Bake Skate’ which appears custom made to be used over footage in a bowl or pipe. It’s another example of the band talking about what they know and it serves as further proof that it is the best way to write. FIDLAR are a band making the music they grew up listening to, it’s something new in the turgid climate of nonsense pop records, but it’s close enough to their forefathers that it feels almost homely. On LDA there is an almost Joey Ramone stuffiness to the vocal that is like watching a home movie.
If you need something to pick you out of the gutter or for that unforgiving road trip then this album comes highly recommended, it’s a familiar headbutt.