Kerrang! (UK) - - REVIEWS - SAM LAW

‘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.

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