Fall Out Boy

Pax-Am Days

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Punks in spirit if not sound, Fall Out Boy followed their 2013 comeback Save Rock and Roll with Pax-Am Days, a brief blast of hardcore nastiness produced by Ryan Adams. Neither FOB nor Adams has ever been seen as pure punk and so it's not entirely a surprise that the eight-track, 13-minute EP is hardcore punk in form but not in feel. Patrick Stump is too powerful of a singer to seem entirely comfortable with the loud-fast rules of hardcore but something similar could be said of the rest of Fall Out Boy, who prefer colorful, forceful hooks to relentless riffs, and the joy of Pax-Am Days is that it condenses all of that melodicism into a punishing onslaught of rock. Much of the band's excesses are trimmed away -- Pete Wentz's verbosity is reined in; the overstuffed grandiosity is kept in check -- and what's left are eight songs, all but one less than two minutes, of hooks and cheerful aggression. Fall Out Boy may still not seem like real hardcore punks, but it's fun to hear them pretend as if they were.

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