FIDLAR ripped onto the scene in 2012 with a slew of adolescence-embracing, reckless rock anthems for their self-titled debut album. Nearly seven years after “Cheap Beer”, “No Waves” and “Wake Bake Skate” they are back with their third full-length album, Almost Free, which employs some new tricks but mostly stays true to the band’s debauched, sophomoric self-loathing.
Almost Free has the band expanding their recording process to include horn sections, electronically enhanced beats, and other genre-bending methods that lurch beyond anything else they’ve practiced in the past. Unfortunately, their leadoff song “Get Off My Rock” comes off a bit contrived, like a Beastie Boys track spliced with Cypress Hill that fails to get anyone excited. Fortunately, the rest of the album goes uphill from here.
“Can’t You See” is a slow-burning romper that is as devilish as it is addictive. Clever lyrics make fun of people trying to fix themselves by filling externalities. ‘Meditate you can get rich quick / Don’t talk, just like my shit’.’ “By Myself” is another earworm that may come off slightly campy, but once you understand the darkness of lead singer, Zac Carper’s, history of substance abuse it becomes sardonically seductive.
“Alcohol” sounds like it could be taken right off FIDLAR’s debut album, and is a party anthem that also divulges that Zac Carper who has quit meth, heroin and crack – still drinks alcohol. “Flake” comes hard with Gary Glitter-esque drums and a rollicking chorus that can hook any unsuspecting fan. “Called You Twice” which features female vocalist, K.Flay, offers an unsuspecting ribbon of romance intertwined in the predominately raucous mix.
The album ends with fan-fodder type tracks like the destructive “Too Real”, Black Lips-esque “Kick” and self-deprecating and aptly named song, “Good Times Are Over”. The beauty of Almost Free is the underlying honesty that exudes from each riff and lyric.
FIDLAR may have close to a decade making music, but they can still convey the pain of failure, self-hate, and the maddening ennui of normal life. While Almost Free lines up a slew of new hits, the true essence of the band is found in their live show, where each song is celebrated by an army of disaffected beer-spraying fans who can’t help but make FIDLAR the soundtrack to their lives.