It’s been just over eighteen months since Fall Out Boy made their return to music with their fifth effort ‘Save Rock and Roll’ so admittedly, the fact that a sixth album is already landing in our laps is something of a surprise. After all, it’s not like they’ve not been busy: between festival appearances and huge tours, they squeezed in recording with Ryan Adams, released the subsequent EP ‘Pax Am Days’, and penned the soundtrack for a forthcoming Disney blockbuster.
Workaholics though they must be, ‘American Beauty / American Psycho’ isn’t short of epicness. From the grand horn section that sounds the opening of ‘Irresistible’ through to the mad scientist genius of its title track, Fall Out Boy have no qualms with diving headfirst into stadium-sized pop rock. ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ feels like a tailor-made lighters-in-the-air moment, before dancing right into ‘Uma Thurman’, an edgy yet slinky nostalgic number, littered with pop culture references and Pulp Fiction samples.
It’s ‘Novocaine’ however that will turn heads: another of their strange genre-crunching, darkly-tinged experiments, it’s all robotic noises and falsetto harmonies, not too dissimilar to the title track yet completely different at the same time. ‘Fourth of July’ is another bombastic pop track, exploding into life like Patrick Stump’s lyrical fireworks, while closer ‘Twin Skeletons (Hotel in NYC)’ is a frantic – but almost spooky - anthem in the making.
At times the record may not hang together, but it makes up for that in its colour, its audacity, and its unabashed sense of pride at giving just about anything a go. Is it still Fall Out Boy? Undoubtedly. They’re just intent on finding a new path to tread.