It opens with "Cheap Beer" and closes with "Cocaine," so you get it, right? Both serviceable, the former thrashes about in unadulterated, snotty glee with a big, brazenly dumb chorus ("I drink/ Cheap beer/ So what?/ Fuck you"). The latter also prides itself on youthful provocations (cocaine for breakfast!), but is ably matched by an appropriately manic throttle.

It's easy to dismiss FIDLAR. The group's all-embracing immaturity—the rallying cry of the Millennials isn't novel, nor is its outlet in unhinged punk. Nevertheless, FIDLAR belong to a lineage that includes the Dictators and the Ramones as much as Jay Reatard and Wavves, the convergence of giddy irreverence with buzzing melody. But then, the group's name is an acronym for "Fuck It Dog, Life's A Risk."

When it works, however, it is strong stuff. "No Waves" is joyful, bouncy, and irascible; "Max Can't Surf" boogies through its broken blues riff; "Wake Bake Skate" sounds, in the best way, like an electrified whirling dervish; and "5 to 9" blurs with great energy. Knowing its limits and keeping all songs under four minutes ("Cocaine" contains a bonus track that technically stretches it past seven) FIDLAR's music never overstays its welcome.

The failures are not abject, but merely ill-fitting. The arena trawl and neo-psychedelic turns of "Paycheck" are awkwardly married; ditto the grunge-country of "Blackout Stout." Meanwhile, the lazy shuffle of "Gimmie Something" sounds like the Rolling Stones falling asleep in the Who's tour bus, the pleasure of which depends on your perspective. A promising debut, perhaps the biggest issue with FIDLAR is that it's not risky enough.

More by Michael Petitti


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