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FIDLAR’s Perfectly Executed Rock ‘n Roll

Posted by February 18th, 2013 No Comments »

Mom & Pop Records 
By Matt Ashworth 

Sometimes rock and roll doesn’t need to be reinvented, it just needs to be executed perfectly.

Such is the case with L.A. party punks FIDLAR, whose 14 song eponymous debut is full of great songs that embody the original spirit of rebellion that fueled rock and roll in its heyday.

Though dubbed “skate punks,” “Wake Bake Skate” is the only track on the album that truthfully earns the band those Descendents comparisons other rock scribes are making (the simple two note piano they add during the last half of the song take it from good to great), whereas “Max Can’t Surf” is power pop fun that sounds like it could have been written by Fountains of Wayne.

“No Waves” is a fuzzy new wave song that sounds like the Dead Milkmen covering Devo, whereas “Gimme Something” gets a Stonesy, truck drivin’ vibe going for a tale about a panhandling drunk, indicating another direction the band could go if they eventually wear out on the coked-up surf punk vibe.

Live, as well as throughout the album, the band plays with as much spirit and personality as the lifestyle they purport. Their noisy version of “Cocaine,” a traditional blues number, borrows the riff the Black Angels stole from Roky Erickson and “5 to 9” is a hoot too; it’s an amped up anthem cataloguing that early morning time period when one full day of partying turns into a second.

My favorite track on the album is “Stoked and Broke,” which offers genius couplets like “There’s nothing wrong with livin’ like this / all my friends are pieces of shit.” I even like the hidden song, which starts a full minute after aforementioned album-closer “Cocaine” fades out. It’s a slow, almost acoustic drinking song that makes it sound like front man Zac Carper would be pretty good around a campfire too.

At 39 I get exhausted just thinking about the FIDLAR lifestyle, but it’s good to know these guys are still out there carrying the torch for all us former fuckups. ((Had they stuck to Matt Ashworth’s Handy Guide for Punk Rock Debuts, which dictates no more than 11 songs (“Paycheck,” “Whore” and “White on White” are the only ones I could do without), I might have even given this debut a perfect score.)) – (9/10)


FIDLAR don’t currently have a Seattle date listed, but there’s a convenient gap in their schedule right around the time of the Capitol Hill Block Party.

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