Culver City. Santa Monica. The 101. LA County. The liquor store. The alley. Your dealer’s car. Beer, speed, blow, weed. FIDLAR are your friendly neighborhood loser garage-rock heroes, and they want to take you along for the ride. Preorder this record and get a band-branded skate deck; if they could, they’d probably toss in an eighth. A brash Molotov cocktail of influences stretching from the Pixies to Jack White to Ty Segall, with a knowing nod to fellow West Coaster Wavves, drenches the FIDLAR sound, which is wild, thrashing, Bacchic, the sonic manifestation of a 48-hour bender in which the sun never rises. For all its proximity to death, though, their self-titled debut is a real shot of life.
“No Waves” is practically exuberant, a manic celebration of feeling like various things: like a cokehead, a crackhead, a grandpa, like shooting up, all over a rushing guitar carnival. Vocalists Elvis Kuehn and Zac Carper scream-shout their way through cavernous distortion on “Max Can’t Surf,” another lighter song. What’s more engrossing, though, is the degree to which FIDLAR effortlessly blend that kind of fuck-it-all humor with sheer licentiousness. Opener and single “Cheap Beer” is the king here, vocal-chord-tearing verses giving way to the battle cry “I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU.” By the way, FIDLAR stands for “Fuck it, dog, life’s a risk.”
And yet there are moments when the ambivalence toward everything sounds like it might, just might, be giving way to genuine concern, or at least, the recognition that being fucked up all the time doesn’t make you invincible. In “Blackout Stout,” the speaker’s brother is “laughing at me on the phone / Let’s go into the unknown / Can’t wait to be alone / I can’t find my way home.” In “Paycheck,” “Somebody told me to leave ‘cause I ain’t looking so great / My money’s running out I’m shooting everything / Did I sell my TV or did I give it away?” It’s back to square one for the night – unless you only live in the present and bleed rock and roll. “There’s nothing wrong with living like this,” Kuehn and Carper declare in “Stoked and Broke.” The logical genius at play in FIDLAR: Risk starts to lose its meaning when it becomes your life. What’s there to fear?