Surf/garage/skate rockers FIDLAR have punk rock and sunshine in their genes. With drummer Max Kuehn and guitarist Elvis Kuehn being sons of T.S.O.L. member Greg Kuehn, and vocalist and guitarist Zac Carper being the son of a famous surfboard designer, FIDLAR’s effortless brand of rock was predestined. They have played together (with bassist Brandon Schwartzel) since 2009 alongside the likes of The Black Lips and The Hives. Their heavily anticipated self-titled debut was officially released at the very beginning of this year and has garnered pretty favourable reviews, but I found myself of divided opinion upon listening. The album’s most upbeat moments like No Waves and Max Can’t Surf had me hooked, but the lyrics on the whole were just a shade too crass in places. I wasn’t keen on Whore, for example.
I am not, however, split about Awkward. It’s brilliant; early Weezer meets Built to Spill meets the power-pop love of my musical life. It’s as good as that sounds. BIG RIFFS and a brilliantly simple chorus of ‘I’ll probably end up fucking up and make it super awkward’ that is made to be belted out in the middle of a sweaty crowd. It’s also clever in that it appeals to people like me who, although all grown-up, still have that occasional yearning for catchy songs with big choruses and a simple message. While writing this review I learned that this is a re-recording. It was previously known as Awwwkwaarrrddd and featured Kate Nash on vocals. I think it’s lost something in the re-recording. It’s a little fuzzier in the original, but it’s better for it. I think it’s that they accidentally hit on that mid-90s Weezer-esque sound and just turned that factor up by 11 on the re-recording which in turn was just that smidge too far. Regardless, both versions are brilliant but you’ll definitely have a favourite of the two.
Awkward by FIDLAR is out on September 8th via Wichita Records.