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Almost Free, FIDLAR’s third album, sounds almost foreign in comparison to its predecessors. However, that’s not a bad thing by any means. The California-based quartet indulge in creative exploration by adding brassy flourishes and layered rhythms alongside their classic, foolproof combination of lyrical honesty and fun. The difference in sound may shock the ears of listeners who have been following FIDLAR’s work for several years, but no artist is obligated to maintain a uniform sound. In fact, it’s more interesting if they don’t. While there are certainly moments in which the songs drown in their own detail, FIDLAR’s eager embrace of the newness remains among Almost Free’s most memorable aspects.
FIDLAR’s lyrics have been a strong point on each of their previous albums, and Almost Free is certainly no exception. In each song, the lyrics capture the raw cornerstones of the human experience as just that: raw. There are no metaphors meant to be thinly veiled representations of emotion. Rather, romantic insecurity (“Thought. Mouth”), the yearn for escapism (“Alcohol”), and overall mental health struggles (“Kick”) are all mentioned explicitly. After all, there’s certainly something to be said about calling things for what they are. FIDLAR’s lack of hesitation in addressing tricky topics — topics many cannot even bring themselves to think about — and doing so in such a forthright manner is refreshing. We all wrestle with understanding our own minds and behaviors, and Almost Free lets us know we’re not alone.