Track Review: Hello, goodbye, I’m not so high on FIDLAR’s latest track
FIDLAR second single release since 2015’s Too is the perfect display of the typical punk/garage-rock band downfall. Here’s how it goes: a cool new band with a raw sound starts making waves within DIY, alt, and punk scenes. Fans become enamored with their high energy shows, some EPs and maybe an album or two which all become classics. Soon a mid-sized label takes notice and decides to step in. Before you know it, the band is “tightening up” their sound and getting sober. Their next few releases slowly become stale, as they confine themselves to a more approachable sound and drop their less-than-ideal “influences.” Unfortunately, FIDLAR, like many before them, have fallen victim to this trend.
As the band has dropped their negative influences they’ve struggled to find their voice. FIDLAR has never been the most poetic band so they tried their hand with social commentary on Too. Their efforts were rewarded with overwhelmingly positive reviews... but it wasn’t the same.
“Are You High?” sounds like a party rock anthem that I would love to see played live. In fact, immediately after listening to the song I was looking up tour dates. But that doesn’t mean I’m excited for a new FIDLAR album — ten to twelve tracks like this in a row would be unbearable.
There are some nice lyrics in this song which isn’t always the case with FIDLAR. “And all my homies wanna know what I've been doing / I think they liked me better back when I was using,” bands going sober is never a bad thing, but it seems frontman Zac Carper may still be struggling with the transition. Before repeating the chorus over and over Carper’s final words are, “And its my life to throw away / Yeah its my life to throw away.”
The production quality is good but I don’t think the production is good — I think that makes sense. Max Kuehn’s drums take on a weird, almost condensed sound, the guitars have no distinguishable tone to them, and Carper’s vocals somehow seem even more nasally than before.
I want to make it clear that I don’t think FIDLAR is a band that sold out. I think they’re a band that just grew up and lost their edge. Maybe now they’re trying a little too hard to recapture what they had on FIDLAR and Shit We Recorded in Our Bedroom. Or maybe they just sang about drugs and alcohol until there was nothing else to say.
Regardless of what you or anyone else (I’m looking in a mirror right now) thinks of the track, FIDLAR is a great band when you’re in the mood. They’re fun, their shows are unforgettable, and they’re bettering themselves along the way. Bands won’t always dish out songs we’ll love, but I have to love FIDLAR for trying to figure themselves out.