Over the past 17 years, beloved Chicagoans Fall Out Boy have released six massive albums, played hundreds of stadium shows, headlined dozens of festivals and even found the time for a two-year hiatus (2010-12). Where do a band who’ve done everything go next? EDM, obviously.
Their bonkers seventh record ‘Mania’ is worlds away from the smart pop-punk of 2003 debut ‘Take This To Your Grave’ or the rousing emo of 2005’s ‘From Under The Cork Tree’. “We’re a band that has made no secret of experimenting and changing,” singer Patrick Stump told NME recently, and here that’s what they do. From chiming tropical jam ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’ to the batshit but brilliant EDM of ‘Young And Menace’, the quartet have thrown everything they’ve done previously out of the window.
Sometimes this works (the cantering piano riffs of synthpop thumper ‘Last Of The Real Ones’ is the band at their anthemic best, and the raucous ‘Champion’ is a riot). At other times, though, we run into some syrupy clichés. On the chirpy, M.I.A. sampling ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ and the baroque pop-infused ‘Church’, the teen angst of these grown men kicks into overdrive, and it gets exhausting. Just before it gets too much we’re gifted the lilting reggae of Burna Boy collaboration ‘Sunshine Riptide’, reminding you that these lads from Illinois know how to write a banger.
There’s no ‘Dance, Dance’ or ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ in here, but there doesn’t need to be. The musical landscape has changed since Fall Out Boy’s Warped Tour days in the mid-’00s, and so have they. As ‘Mania’ shows, it’s probably for the best.