FIDLAR’s New Album is Almost Free From Critique

FIDLAR’s new album is staggeringly on the nose, which is probably how they’ve managed to deliver such a knockout. FIDLAR have never shied away from exploring topics like substance abuse and mental illness, and this album is no exception. Their powerful yet familiar lyrics and themes are interwoven through a fresh and exciting sound, a marked departure from their previous work.

The highlight of this album is the constant juxtaposition of lyrics and sound, which is devastatingly effective. The relatively upbeat backing track to ‘Kick’ accompanies heart-wrenchingly real discussions of career destruction and debilitating addiction, which hit even harder in the context of lead singer Zac Carper’s struggles with drugs.

The downfall of this album, though, is its decidedly halfhearted foray into politics. ‘Too Real’ attempts to deal with issues of contemporary politics and seriously misses the mark. In this respect, the directness that serves them so well when dealing with mental health (“I really wanna do some drugs/I think I’m suicidal”) falls flat. Ranging from “I’m gonna move to Canada/cause fuck America” to the confused discussion of extremism “you’ve gone so far to the left you’ve ended up on the right”, the lyrics seem an odd patchwork of empty platitudes. The less said about “why the hell is everybody on their phone/why is the answer to life on the fucking phone’’ the better. A testament to FIDLAR’s instrumental prowess, though, ‘Too Real’ remains a hell of a song.

All in all, this is a great album. FIDLAR have once again managed to blend a forthright discussion of taboo issues with a sound that is simultaneously familiar and fresh. That they’re capable of maintaining this versatility should give their fans high hopes for the future.

Charley Weldrick