If FIDLAR’s 2013 self-titled debut was a hyperactive teen, its scruffy garage-punk rushing from high to high via, well, cheap beer and cocaine – ‘Too’, its follow-up is the inevitable late-20s comedown. Ostensibly, it’s a document of frontman Zac Carper’s descent into, and rise towards recovery from, drug addiction. Where song titles point - ‘Overdose’, ‘Sober’, ‘Bad Medicine’ - lyrics follow; by the umpteenth time he repeats the line “one day, I’ll be coming home to you” during ‘Stupid Decisions’, it’s clear there’s neither a ‘home’ nor a ‘you’ for him to return to.
His pain, although obvious (concentrate a little too hard and ‘Too’ is one hell of a dark listen), is also universal. “Where do I belong? Where do I go?” he asks on the appropriately titled ‘Why Generation’. For too long we’ve relied on Generation X-ers for our catharsis-via-music: ‘Too’ is dripping in millennial angst.
“How the hell are we supposed to know / how to live in the 21st Century / when every move you make / everyone can see,” he asks. It’s confessional; self-deprecating; melodramatic. “I’m getting older and I’m freaking out / ‘cause I got nothing to show and I’m still fucking broke.”
Best of all – this is juxtaposed with huge riffs, and hooks ahoy. ‘Punks’ is bombastic; ‘Sober’ punkish and bratty; ‘Stupid Decisions’ a sort of Beatles-via-Weezer epic; ‘Bad Habits’ a show-stopper of a closer. ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Drone’, and singles ‘40oz On Repeat’ and ‘West Coast’ all sing-alongs. A ‘slow’ song on a fast band’s record is usually a disaster, but ‘Overdose’ and its bluegrass-y minimalism creates a necessary intimacy. Listen on the surface, and ‘Too’ is capable of utter joy.
It’s clever, too – the obviously digital stop-start edits of ‘40oz On Repeat’ and ‘Sober’ countered by the lo-fi interludes dotted along. Yes, they’ve recorded in a proper studio this time – they’re happy to show it – just don’t think they’ve changed THAT much. So ‘Too’ is a big, dumb-smart, happy-sad, universally-specific beast of a record, then. Ber-limey.
Get your copy of the latest issue
More like this
The band’s new clip lands ahead of their return to the UK later this summer.
The quartet will play a handful of headline shows around their previously-announced appearances at Reading and Leeds.
Milk Teeth, PUP and more also join headliners including The 1975 and Foo Fighters this August.
With the release of career highlight ‘Almost Free’ upping their game and then some, FIDLAR’s Zac and Elvis delve into the delicate balance between fantasy and reality.