Written by Chris Osifchin
Zac Carper was stuck deep in the throes of addiction, rejection, loneliness and heartbreak just a short time ago. With Too, however, it looks like Carper and company have kicked their old habits. A monster of an album, literally and figuratively, FIDLAR’s sound on Too encompasses a wider range of influences, bigger sounds and catchier hooks than their 2013 self-titled debut.
It’s no secret that FIDLAR, which appropriately stands for “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk,” has been viewed by the press as a party band. If their debut was seen as glamorizing the party lifestyle, Too can be viewed as the other side of that coin. Carper’s musings demonize the party lifestyle; they reflect a serious longing to break free from the chains of addiction and just let go. Getting sober can’t be easy and Too certainly reflects this fact, despite the fun exterior the album exudes. While hardcore fans of the band’s party vibe might look upon the departure from lyrics like “I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you,” as selling out, it’s a logical step for the band when the primary songwriter has gone sober. Too is at once more accessible, but just as rowdy as ever.
“Sober,” in fact, is one of the best that FIDLAR has to offer. Set in the context of a phone conversation, presumably between boyfriend and girlfriend, the song is as much a treatise on getting older as it is on getting sober, Carper kicks up a realization that many of us have had, “I figured out as I got older, that life just sucks when you get sober/ I figured out when I got when I got sober that life just sucks when you get older.” In a roundabout way, getting older is like getting sober too. You’re less naive. You view the world through a specific lens that maybe you didn’t when you were younger. You start to care more about different things than you once did. It’s not always pretty, but it happens to us all.
Vamping on the West Coast pop-punk vibe, the song “West Coast” is a beautiful ode to reckless abandon, even if Carper intends it as a warning. The lyrics hearken to the original FIDLAR tunes, but the music skews the sound more toward Wavves and Ty Segall than the Dead Kennedys. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of sounds, but it remains to be seen how fans will take the song. While it fits the FIDLAR party vibe, it’s not the original FIDLAR sound.
The first half of the album is solid as a rock, but as Too winds down, it loses some steam. FIDLAR could’ve thrown some of the first half down to the second half and the album as whole would come off much stronger. The final two songs “Bad Medicine” and “Bad Habits,” which is also the longest song on the album, seem to be rehashing all the subjects previously touched upon. Not only this, but they are essentially both saying the same thing. It leaves the album on a bit of a downer, but I guess that’s to be expected from Carper who recently described FIDLAR’s first album to Stereogum as “sad songs with a happy hook.”
Too provides more sad songs with happy hooks. If that’s not your thing feel free to avoid, but the album is an impressive work, despite it’s drawbacks.
Even though growing up might suck, FIDLAR is pulling it off with style.