In PAX AM Days, the follow-up EP to this year’s Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy makes a concerted effort to sound more punk. The product of the band’s evolution, however, is certainly not going to save rock and roll. Even though the attempt to deviate from pop songs about wet dreams and girls who listen to Britney Spears towards something grittier is respectable, the actual result leaves much to be desired.
Listening to the album, with its pounding drums and frenetic screaming, feels like being trapped in a fun-house that has not been fun for quite some time. The album continues along one frequency without much variation between songs until everything, from forgettable lyrics like “Love! Sex! Death! Till there’s nothing left,” to the composition of the songs, starts to run together into an indistinguishable mess.
The repetitive nature of the album is the result of a half-baked understanding of the punk genre. Punk forefathers The Clash (sorry to bring you into this Joe Strummer), may have done a fair amount of drum banging and angry shouting, but their songs also had wild instrumentals and a sense of story, no matter how convoluted. While listening to PAX AM Days, on the other hand, I was so disoriented by everything from the lack of rhythm to the mumbled lyrics that I found myself questioning whether English was even my mother language. I salute Fall Out Boy’s desire to shed their middle school garb in favor of something cooler, but they have a ways to go before they can rock the clothes of their rebellious older brother.