"Beat on the brat with a baseball bat", sang Joey Ramone back in 1976 and whilst not advocating violent behaviour towards others using sporting apparatus, there's little doubt Los Angeles quartet Fidlar qualify as your stereotypical brats. When not skating or hitting on girls, they're likely to be found wasted. Very wasted in fact. Indeed, the majority of the fourteen songs that make up their self-titled debut long player celebrate just that. Whether it be drinking cheap beer, scoring pills, smoking weed or snorting cocaine, there's bound to be a name check or two here.
Having formed four years ago and played an endless stream of house parties, DIY shows and skate parks ever since, it was last year's excellent 'DIYDUI' EP that earned them recognition outside of their hometown. Sounding like a mash up between Black Flag, The Cramps and Wavves, Mumford & Sons they most definitely aren't. When lead singer (and guitarist) Zac Carper sings lines like, "I just wanna get really high, smoke weed until I die" on the frantically adrenaline charged 'Stoked And Broke', he means business. This, after all, is a guy who's spent time in rehab. No pretence. No posturing.
Similarly, on the poppier 'Max Can't Surf' ("I smoke weed if my baby lets me") Carper lets go over that's more Whitesnake or Guns'n'Roses than CBGBs punk. Where opener 'Cheap Beer' glorifies hedonistic excess like a long lost cousin of Queens Of The Stone Age's 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer', '5 To 9' tells a different story. Carper extolling the virtues of having no money and therefore being unable to partake in his favourite pastime; getting high/drunk/both.
Occasionally, Fidlar pursue the same approach to lo-fi garage punk as the Black Lips. 'No Waves', a semi-autobiographical account of Carper's rehabilitation period and the loose-limbed 'Blackout Stout' both falling into that category. Elsewhere, the likes of 'Wake Bake Skate' and 'Wait For The Man' don't outstay their welcome, clocking in at a combined total of less than four minutes.
While such traits are essential for those with short attention spans, it serves to make 'Fidlar' fairly one-dimensional at times. Nevertheless, for a band whose philosophy appears to be purely based on not taking themselves too seriously, it would be churlish in the extreme to expect anything that different.
However, the burning question remains: When the hangover subsides, will you want to come back for more? The return of the white punks on dope.
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