On their third studio effort, Almost Free, FIDLAR tries on some new sounds for size, with mixed results. The L.A. pop-punk outfit, whose name is an acronym for the skater saying “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk,” is best known for their songs about drinking, partying and self-loathing, but Almost Free branches out somewhat into political and social commentary.
Opening track “Get Off My Rock” is one of the best songs on the album, borrowing heavily from the Beastie Boys and sets an aggravated tone. “Can’t You See,” on the other hand, is the band’s most pop-forward track to date. “By Myself” contains the humorous lyricism FIDLAR is loved for (“I started from the bottom / and I’m still at the bottom / then I spent a night in jail / Turns out it wasn’t the bottom”). Featuring horns and blues rock guitar riffs, title cut “Almost Free” is a cool instrumental departure. Lead single “Too Real” gets political but lacks the intended sting. (Is there anything people are offended by in politics anymore?)
The other tracks on the album tend to to run together, and the 40-minute run time ends up feeling too long after multiple spins. FIDLAR deserve some credit for trying something new and trying to bring their usual punk sound to the mainstream, but as a unit Almost Free has some gaping holes that can’t be ignored.