Fall Out Boy

Folie A Deux

Written by: TL on 16/12/2008 14:14:04

Last time Fall Out Boy released an album, I already allowed my review to deal with the schisms the band's progression has put between them and their fans, so if you're still hung up on issues like that, you can read about "Infinity On High" before proceeding here. As for the TTTYG-crowd, I'm pretty sure most of you gave up hope for "Folie A Deux" to be the album you wanted it to be long ago, as the cat's been out of the bag for a while; This is Fall Out Boy's most experimental record, and subsequently, it's also their worst yet.

However, that's the verdict already, and for this to be a fair trial, I have a duty to shoulder the burden of evidence before sentencing. So allow me to introduce Exhibit A, namely examples on blatant overproduction present throughout "Folie A Deux". Starting already at track one, the accused stumble into a pit they've otherwise managed to avoid this far, by indulging in a hazardous use of vocal-layering where none is needed. Patrick Stump has proven that he can sing damn well on his own ("Golden") even if he does sometime fall short of breath live ("**** Live In Phoenix DVD"), so layering his vocals in the choruses for added effect end up being a disservice to the singer. Intensifying the severity of this offense, numerous occasions also see added choirs that will inevitably end up as being unnecessary, since the band usually are quite capable of making their songs work in simplified live-versions that save them from having to bring on a full orchestra from every gig. The case in point can be sampled in the opening pair "Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes" and "I Don't Care" - both of which are excellent songs that could've just been that little bit better if Patrick's prowess had been left to shine without fake polish.

Alas, there is more than sufficient cause for appeal though, given that Pete Wentz has improved lyrically yet again, reaching a level of post-modern poetic supremacy few other songwriters can boast. By making sure each and every line of each and every song is a pointed curiosity of language, Wentz's writing joins forces with shamelessly infectious compositions, rescuing most tracks from the fate the production of the album would otherwise have spelled out for them. As such, tracks like the mentioned openers as well as "American Suitehearts" and "What A Catch Donnie" manage to shine through the technological smokescreen and find a resting place in the minds of the audience in spite of their flaws.

Especially "What A Catch Donnie" is an impressive song, where the band mount a grand rock opera in a song where listening to the ending medley of classic FOB choruses feels as sentimental as reading the ending to your favourite novel. Beautiful. It's on "The (Shipped) Gold Standard", "(Coffee's For Closers)" and "27" however, that the curious listener will rejoice the most, finding the most pure reminders of who Fall Out Boy are behind all the poppy smoke and mirrors. The latter song being the one you're most likely to remember even when all the singles have died out.

On the other side of the scales we have "She's My Winona","Tiffany Blews" and "w.a.m.s", all respectful citizen of the catalogue on the surface, however, underneath their disguises, they're revealed to all be crippled and corrupted to a disappointing degree. This shames especially the former, while the latter remains to account for the inclusion of an almost-acapella outro, that doesn't musically have anything to do here, and would have been better left on a track of its own.

As for associates, Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Gabe Saporta (Cobra Starship), Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes), Alex DeLeon (The Cab), William Beckett (The Academy Is...) and Lil Wayne are all suspected to be involved, however, the evidence for this is insufficient for prosecution. Brendon Urie (Panic At The Disco) on the other hand has his fingerprints all over both "What A Catch Donnie" and even more so "20 Dollar Nose Bleed", fortunately for him though, his contribution is of extremely redeeming quality, so he shall also be spared.

And so the prosecutor rests his case, as the judge and jury passes a guilty verdict. Guilty in negligence - In failing to realise the potential talent into something that's fittingly great, and in flirting with sinful and dangerous performance-enhancers rather than relying on own natural skill. The sentence will be mild though, seeing that the consequence of the offence is small and inconsistent at best, and that in spite of it, "Folie A Deux" remains a devilishly catchy and engaging listen - And even if it is the worst Fall Out Boy album to date I leave it to the vengeful to dismiss it after listening to the titles listed under "Download" here, while the merciful may still enjoy it as a whole, even for its flaws.


Download: Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes, I Don't Care, What A Catch Donnie, American Suitehearts.
For The Fans Of: Panic At The Disco, Motion City Soundtrack, Forgive Durden
Listen: myspace.com/falloutboy

Release Date 16.12.2008
Island/Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen Records

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