Album review by Sonny Drake
After the polished rock of their impressive come-back album, Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy return with an altogether different beast. PAX-AM Days, recorded over two days with Bryan ‘no relation’ Adams in his LA studio, is a foray into the type of 1980s hardcore punk that the band has always been vocal about loving but that has only ever remained on the fringes of their sound.
And the record definitely is different. While they’ve left screamed vocals back with their rough early material, the album is still leaner and meaner than anything they’ve recorded previously. The whole eight track EP clocks in at under fifteen minutes with only one song – closer and stand-out ‘Caffeine Cold’ – breaking the two minute mark.
The sound of the EP is reminiscent of the Descendants or early Black Flag: short sharp blasts of intent with jagged guitars. Despite this, due primarily to singer Patrick Stump’s distinctive soul-inflected vocals, they maintain a distinct identity of their own. There is, of course, the question of whether this is too hard for the pop fans and not hard enough for the punks, but as always the band seem to be making the music they want to and hoping that the fans will enjoy it as much as they do.
The intros and outros of most of the tracks capture members of the band talking creating an off-the-cuff atmosphere to the recordings. Interestingly the EP ends with Stump muttering “don’t laugh at me…I’m not a joke”, as if to pre-empt the inevitable criticism from ‘more-punk-than-thou’ types. Whether they’ll prove anything is up for discussion, but Fall Out boy have certainly made a fun record.Tweet