By: Troy Burke
Label: Mom + Pop Music
Release Date: September 4, 2015
Los Angeles-based garage-punk band FIDLAR has been riding a wave of success since the debut of their self-titled studio album. While making a string of festival dates including some major European festivals like Hurricane as well as Reading and Leeds, they began to write their second album Too. Too is a much more mature side of FIDLAR that seems like the exact opposite of their previous studio effort.
FIDLAR’s new sound may be attributed to the changes made by lead singer Zac Carper. After struggling with drug addiction and the loss of a girlfriend and unborn child due to a heroin overdose, Carper decided that it was time to get clean. Carper’s experience influenced a slew of songs dealing with the topic of addiction like “Overdose” and “Bad Medicine”.
Carper maintains the punk attitude of FIDLAR while realizing that getting sober and being in your late twenties trying to find purpose in life isn’t very easy. “I figured out when I got sober/That life just sucks when you get older” Carper screams on the hook of “Sober”.
Too is an album full of themes like growing up, getting sober, and hating yourself throughout the whole process.There’s plenty of self-loathing to go along with the newfound realization that growing up sucks. On the very next track “Leave Me Alone” Carper proclaims “I’m stupid/So stupid/And a hopeless romantic.” “Stupid Decisions” has a great chord progression that personifies Carper’s feelings of isolation and self-loathing before the verse even starts. The guitar intro sounds like something that would have been on an old Weezer album if Weezer listened to Wavves. As the song progresses to a slow tempo and a screaming hook you can hear the old FIDLAR with a nice and clean production behind it thanks to Jay Joyce, the first outside producer they have ever worked with.
The production value has definitely gone up on this album. Previous recordings of songs like “West Coast” and “Punks” appeared on YouTube but they clearly went back to the drawing board before throwing it on the album. “West Coast” still has the pop-punk that you would expect from an early FIDLAR song but the vocals have been cleaned up and the guitar and drums sound crisp. “Punks” is one of the heavier songs on the album but it still has the great energy FIDLAR puts into their live shows without skipping out on production value. In earlier recordings the country twang of the guitar could barely be heard over Carper’s screams. In the version that appears on Too the guitar and vocals are present throughout making it seem like a brand new song.
Too is an album worthy of a few listens, but in the end it sounds like FIDLAR made this album for themselves. This is their way of growing up as a band and maturing to functioning adults in society and not just burnt-out punks. Sometimes it takes a little self-reflecting to realize that it’s time to get your act together and get things done in life and FIDLAR has conveyed that message to their fans loud and clear.