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FIDLAR | Almost Free

The SoCal bro-dudes let their freak flags fly on this freewheeling third album.

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Almost? Who the hell do they think they’re fooling? One spin of Almost Free is all you need to realize that the bro-dudes of SoCal’s FIDLAR — for those who still aren’t up to speed on their acronymic handle, it stands for Fuck It Dude, Life’s a Risk — couldn’t be much musically freer. Or be taking greater creative risks than they do on this audaciously eclectic third album. After two deliberately deviant discs of wickedly wise-ass skate-punk and garage-rock, these four sonic hooligans fight for their right to party here — along with the chance to confuse the hell out of their audience. This freewheeling 13-song freak-fest bounds and bounces willy-nilly between foul-mouthed Beastie Boys rap-rock, crunching ’70s glam-boogie, low-rolling alt-rock, horn-heavy funk instrumentals, ’80s-vintage Big Audio Dynamite-style pop, contemporary country-pop, chunky post-grunge and pretty much anything else that strikes their fancy. But if you think they tossed this off with a brewski in one hand and a bong in the other, think again; while song titles like Get Off My Rock, Thought. Mouth and Good Times Are Over may seem juvenile, their lyrics actually offer some clear, concise commentary on contemporary political, social and economic issues. Ladle in a hefty portion of sharp riffs and barbed humour and you’ve got a surprisingly solid, coherent album despite its boundless stylistic shenanigans. Coming from these guys, it’s almost a work of genius. Almost.