FALL OUT BOY
ILLINOIS “ROCKERS” POP INTO THE UNKNOWN ON JOYOUSLY UNSHACKLED SEVENTH LP
‘WE’VE GONE way too fast for way too long,’ intones Patrick Stump as he breathes life into young And Menace, the electric opener to Fall Out Boy’s glittering seventh album. ‘We were never meant to make it half this far!’ And, indeed, the Chicago quartet almost didn’t this time. MANIA( and you don’t know annoying until you’ve had to count the number of spaces between the letters in that title) in its original form was scrapped last year, with the release pushed back. From the five singles already dropped and devoured, we know the album presents another poppier-than-bubble-wrap step away from their tangled punk roots. But even these won’t prepare you for how gloriously crazy and Devil-may-care the end product actually is.
To judge art by its packaging is folly. Here, however, the cover signposts the concept. Featuring a glossy neon scene with a view of crashing seascapes, it’s a visualisation of the fact that even the slickest presentation can connect to inner tumult. Tapping into their own turbulence, as well as that washing through Trump’s America, FOB inject these songs with emotional authenticity.the pugilistic bombast of Champion is undercut by existential uncertainty. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea marries pounding EDM to wounded soul.
Pumping the brakes on this album’s originally scheduled September release hasn’t diluted the sense of freewheeling creativity. Bonafide earworm Hold Me Tight Or Don’t surfs a breezy wave of Latino cool, yet it’s cut through with bittersweet self-doubt. wilson (Expensive Mistakes) flirts with an almost-too-rich vein of Cristal-soaked R’N’B, before jackknifing into even more playful territory full of acid lyricism (‘I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour’) and swaggering verve.the Last Of The Real Ones is an unimpeachably brilliant pop song with a chorus that will rock stadia, while Church is an electro-gospel epic that sees Patrick hit jaw-dropping vocal peaks.the whole record, in fairness, belongs to the starry-eyed singer/guitarist/ programmer, with his bandmates – particularly thundering sticksman Andy Hurley – just about keeping things anchored.
Cynics will sneer. this is a record that disrespects the rock rulebook.and it’ll win a shedload of new fans in doing so. But why shouldn’t it? From Bowie to Kanye to The Clash, unfettered reinvention has been the catalyst for brilliance. If Fall Out Boy want to measure themselves against those icons – and they do – these are the risks they need to take. they’re strutting along a tightrope without a downward glance here. Proof indeed they can do anything. DOWNLOAD: Young And Menace, Champion. FOR FANS OF: Panic! At The Disco, Paramore.