FIDLAR – FIDLAR (Witchita, 2013)

Those dumb punk kids will buy anything.

Well, perhaps.

There’s something a resurgence of punk and hardcore that doesn’t seem to come from ‘the scene’, and is usually triumphed by non-scene media – which is suspicious. This is not to say that the ‘scene’ should be the ‘approved’ way to be recognised as a punk band, just that I’m suspicious of ‘punk’ I hear through, say, Pitchfork, than I am through a mate, a Facebook post from a associate, or even PunkNews.org. Basically, media-first, rather than word-of-mouth, seems to be akin to hype.

And there are things that stink of hype in ‘the scene’ (don’t ask me to define it), as well. I mean, what the fuck is OFF! about? They suck. The Circle Jerks sort of sucked, too. And the only Black Flag album I’ve listened to that find remotely interest is Slip It In. Bad Brains? Bunch of homophobic wank – that first album is balls, too. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, enough with the bitching. Okay one more, but this is where I was leading – Cerebral Ballzy are an appalling, terrible, awful band. Hyped by the media as a return to hardcore’s roots. Bollocks is it – they may play hardcore music, but like thrash metal’s return in the mid ’00s, it’s devoid anything that made the original scene interesting. This time round, both thrash and hardcore, were shadows of their former self, devoid of reason, devoid of mission. Faux anger, faux nihilism, faux fun. They took the Beavis and Butthead laughter too seriously, and thought it was all a joke.

FIDLAR sum up the problem with these bands quite well. The opener features the chorus, ‘I drink cheap beer, so what? Fuck you.’ So what, indeed, so why should I fucking care?

But FIDLAR are a bit different. Unlike their market-buddies in Cerebal Ballzy, FIDLAR can write a good tune. The lyrics are embarrasing, but the noise is nice. This doesn’t mean I think much of their punk stance – that doesn’t work, that doesn’t sell for shit. But, as kids who like some loud guitars, they’re pretty good.

The sound is scratchy guitars playing mostly power chords with the occasional quite dumb lead, horesly shouted vocals, the bass does nothing interesting, and the drums are quiet in the mix, but are played loudly. No songs outstay their welcome – it’s all over pretty quick. And, as I said, they write some good pop tunes.

Rating: this ain’t punk. It’s basically some rock’n’roll-based indie with wannabe nihilistic lyricism. Again, this isn’t to say it’s bad – it just is what it is. But, I think enough time has passed to see past the marketting bollocks and actually find some enjoyment in it just as it is for itself.

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