Los Angeles skate-punks FIDLAR stepped up the production for their sophomore album Too, and while it does capture the raw energy of the band’s raucous live performances, it also sacrifices a bit of the grimy, nicotine-stained, DIY aesthetic of their charmingly juvenile self-titled debut. The upside, of course, is that the crisper sound  emphasizes the unabashed, hook-laden pop at the LP’s core. Yes, there are still fuzzy guitars, throat-ripping screams from frontman Zac Carper, and lots of “fuck it, dog” lyrics about drunken misadventures, addiction, and aimlessness, but make no mistake: this is a pop record. Maybe too pop, in some cases, as with the nursery rhyme melody of opener “40oz. on Repeat” or the cheesy TV theme song–esque “West Coast.” The band does push themselves artistically, most notably on “Overdose”—a dark, spare slow-burner that eventually explodes into a frightening aural surplus of noise. The message is clear: don’t do drugs, kids.


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