Hand in hand with the announcement of their first arena tour of the UK in six years, Fall Out Boy released and streamed the result of a two-day studio session with producer Ryan Adams. It’s a little over thirteen minutes long and is a lightening quick ride of punk and hardcore tracks that nod to the 80s and are a world away from the polished pop-punk of their latest album Save Rock and Roll.
Something I’ve always loved about Fall Out Boy is how they unapologetically experiment with their sound. Each album they’ve released is something different from the last, but they still flow as a band with their own sound, whether it be the rattling and youthful Honorable Mention from their debut Evening Out With Your Girlfriend or the piano-based ballad Golden from 2007’s Infinity on High.
This EP is no different. It storms through fast, noisy, unapologetic. It has the atmosphere and rawness of an unsigned basement punk gig, with the riffs and guitar solos of songs like Art of Keeping Up Disappearances and Caffeine Cold.
Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside promises something a little bit closer to what the masses know of Fall Out Boy, a catchy rendition of the songs’ title and simple but infectious bass line, but it quickly explodes into verses of just as much energy and chaos as the rest of the EP. The songs on this release are so big, energetic and fast-paced, they’re over before you get a grip on what you’re listening to.
The drones and feedback ribboned through Eternal Summer have an element of psychedelia to them, a Pixies vibe, and a chance to hear a brutal side of Stump’s voice you don’t really get from the rest of Fall Out Boy’s discography.
Heavier and hardcore sounds aren’t something completely alien to Fall Out Boy, with Pete Wetz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley all starting off their musical careers in metal, punk and hardcore bands, with the latter two even being part of heavy metal super-group The Damned Things during Fall Out Boy’s hiatus. Nods to the rougher influences of the band have been about for years, like in From Under the Cork Tree’s bonus track Snitches and Talkers Get Stitches and Walkers back in 2005, but PAX AM Days takes these influences and personal tastes to place not really seen by Fall Out Boy fans yet. I feel like it’s unexpected release alongside Save Rock and Roll, which features the likes of Elton John and Courtney Love, makes the EP all the more impressive.
With a huge worldwide fan base, a huge variety of influences constantly being built on and compromised within the band itself and a penchant for just trying new things out, Fall Out Boy are prone to a bit of criticism. But, even if the reason you love Fall Out Boy is because of their radio-ready anthems, you have to give them credit for this ferocious EP, which not only takes a bloody good shot at the punk and hardcore scene but is something so enjoyable for just two days recording. It’s impossible not to respect the talent, dedication and balls this band has.
By Kamiah Overaa