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Fall Out Boy - PAX AM Days [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy: PAX AM Days [EP]PAX AM Days [EP] (2013)
Island Records

Reviewer Rating: 1.5


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It goes without saying that the punk and hardcore scenes are intended to be inclusive spaces for people of all backgrounds. It's the people's genre, or at least it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, that open door policy can sometimes allow in some unwanted riff raff. Such is the case with Fall Out Bo.
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It goes without saying that the punk and hardcore scenes are intended to be inclusive spaces for people of all backgrounds. It's the people's genre, or at least it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, that open door policy can sometimes allow in some unwanted riff raff. Such is the case with Fall Out Boy's new hardcore-inspired EP, Pax AM Days.

Recorded over a two-day marathon session with Ryan Adams producing, Pax AM Days finds Fall Out Boy – having already reunited in secret and saved rock and roll, they think – seeking to conquer a new foe by channeling their earliest influences into eight quick bursts of analog-recorded, barely-produced hardcore. While the four guys in the band are almost certainly talented musicians, this feels like a trivial exercise. Who exactly is this EP for? Yes, bassist/bestselling author Pete Wentz and guitarist Joe Trohman played in local hardcore bands in Chicago prior to FOB's formation. Drummer Andy Hurley is a straight-edge hardcore vegan commando who, during the group's hiatus hit the skins for Enabler and FocusedXMinds. Calling Fall Out Boy poseurs would be way too lazy and easy, and really, not even true. But they've been a pop band since the beginning, a pop band whose bloatedness has grown over the years and reached previously unfathomable heights on Save Rock and Roll. Why not just be that?

Musically, the intentional roughness of Pax AM Days is rarely less than cloying; the listener can almost feel the band winking at them as they run roughshod through thirteen minutes of hardcore-inspired, hidden-track-quality music. Vocalist Patrick Stump sounds the most out of place. Stump's an extremely talented singer, but seconds into "We Were Doomed From The Start (The King Is Dead)" it's apparent he's wholly out of his element, his elongated, operatic performance zapping any and all aggression created by the music behind him. Revered bands in this scene have done just fine with "classically" talented vocalists – Glenn Danzig with Misfits and Jello Biafra with Dead Kennedys immediately spring to mind – but Stump doesn't appear to have the worldview for this. It just doesn't seem real or invested. His delivery of "Hands in the air/ but the middle finger is for you!" in "Eternal Summer" is unbelievable, in that it's hard to believe that he believes the words he's yelling.

One exception might be "Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside," which has a chorus that could've been on any of Fall Out Boy's actual songs. Chances are it'll be the one song from this EP the band play live. "Demigods" is also not bad, with an almost Hot Snakes-like march that weirdly suits FOB's talents much better than fiery hardcore.

That lack of reality permeates throughout Pax AM Days, however. While Hurley is often a bright spot – his percussion work on "Love, Sex, Death" is particularly impressive – the majority of this EP comes off as so tone-deaf and try-hard that it's impossible for the listener to detach from the novelty of the whole thing. But then again, maybe novelty is the whole point.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Bad Brains - Bad BrainsTelevision - Marquee MoonStiff Little Fingers - Inflammable MaterialFall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
superanncoulterfanclub (December 14, 2013)

God damn stupid "org" posters. Pax Am Days is pretty much the only tolerable thing from Fall Out Boy I can listen to beginning to end...and you guys can't let up on the hate. Fuck all y'all.

Suppose if AFI goes back to their roots and starts putting out an EP of East Bay hardcore shit, then you fuckers would shit on that too, right? Or would you cream yourselves? Fuck all y'all.

bexwilk (December 3, 2013)

In the words of Patrick Stump, "We are the riff raff."

shikeingallday (December 3, 2013)

This is an entirely spur-of the moment based post and it reeks of musical stereotyping, which is not only annoying, it's unfair. See? How do you like it if I call what you wrote something that didn't require time or effort to put together? You should maybe try considering what it means to be punk or to be hardcore. Contrary to what the judgmental parts of certain hardcore scenes have to say, you are punk if you are being yourself. Whether or not that sounds stupid to others or not, that's what these "genres" of musicians also feel. And that's also what the people who grew up around this generation feel if they like these "type of bands". I think you are a little wrapped up in genre, and not totally accepting the fact that to be an artist or to be a band, you don't have to live up to the expectations of others. Being an artist is the same as being a person; you're complex, you're different, you change, you develop, etc. As for the personal comments attacking individual band members...that is completely uncalled for. Patrick might as well have a third lung..he has a huge vocal range..it's incredible..not only that, but if you knew anything about a person before writing a bad review about them, you would know that music is his passion..and he has a wide taste in music. He recently produced an album called Soul Punk, where he played every instrument in. It's almost nothing like Fall Out Boy and he grew up listening to people like Michael Jackson...Oh, and you know, he also grew up in the hardcore scene and he's also sang in a few hardcore songs. You do not get to tell people who or what they believe in just by how you think their voice sounds...Are you kidding me? You don't know this person and you obviously don't know when he sounds genuine or not. To be quite honest with you, this is an offensive article and Fall Out Boy has addressed this review in a concert they did recently because it pissed them off. "Eight quick bursts of analog-recorded, barely-produced hardcore" was a comment that I want to discuss as well. Something Fall Out Boy is literally criticized for constantly is how much they change every record, some more than others. It's not something new or out of the ordinary to do something different for them..that's literally who they've been this whole time. It's fine if you don't like their music and think it's poorly produced, but you don't know these boys and you obviously don't know what it means to be punk..or you know, an informed decent person

mattramone (October 22, 2013)

Bryne called someone a try-hard

wrothy (October 19, 2013)

Did you listen to Pornography's "7 Minutes in Heaven" prior to this review? I know this site just includes FOB for clickbait, but the last PN.com review (for SRAR) said, "At this point, there is little to no difference between Fall Out Boy and any other mainstream radio schlock."

Clearly, the difference between FOB and radio has no bearing on how they're rated here. At least this one is for fun and fans. The SRAR-onestar rant is actually counted in their 75 on Metacritic.

They're playing the entire Pax Am EP live at The Metro next month, and that's information that has been available for weeks now.

Patrick was never a hardcore/grindcore vocalist. He was a drummer in that scene prior to being recruited to the mic by Pete. Going earnest-Biafra was a good choice because they were using melodies. We all know Patrick can Weekend Nachos Jock Powerviolence (http://youtu.be/xms3fyLqSGc?t=43s) it up, but that's not the type of punk they were referencing on Pax Am Days.

lostcausegiveup (October 18, 2013)

Caffeine Cold is actually pretty rad.

lostcausegiveup (October 18, 2013)

Ouch! It's really not that bad. Mind you, I thought about half of "Save Rock and Roll" was great too, so maybe I'm the exception.

filbunke (October 18, 2013)

What's up punknews? You could have reviewed "Devour" instead of this crap.
Seriously, it's been out since October 8th. Feels a bit more relevant than Fall Out Boy. Maybe it's just me.

sweetpunkrock (October 16, 2013)

The Dead Kennedy's are one of my favorite bands, but calling Jello a "classically" talented singer is a bit of a stretch.

krudsma (October 16, 2013)

Completely agree about this one. I'm not against the idea of Fall Out Boy exploring their roots, but this release just feels so lifeless.

davebrave4 (October 15, 2013)

"chances are it'll be the one song on this EP the band play live" haha so true.

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