Album review: Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust

Fall Out Boy go back to their roots on superb eighth album So Much (For) Stardust – but not like you think…

Album review: Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust
Nick Ruskell

While it's true that emo nostalgia is high stock right now, none of its key constituents are exactly grabbing the phenomenon with both hands and holding it close. My Chemical Romance have merrily toured the stadia of the world without pulling out drummer-lad jackets or speaking to the press about it all, filling their setlists with obscure deep cuts and curios. Paramore's return is marked by new music that's distinctly more art-department and indie sounding. Panic! At The Disco, meanwhile, decided that this fertile market presented the perfect time to break up, waving goodbye by playing last year's Viva Las Vengeance album in full at their final gigs.

For a minute, though, it looked like Fall Out Boy were heading back there. After the divisive madness of M A N I A, an album that was seemingly written to a policy of 'Any Sound, So Long As It Doesn't Sound Like What People Dig Us For', January's single Love From The Other Side was a return to the source. The guitars were back, for one thing. It wasn't desperately trying to wed rock with Kanye for another. Most importantly, it sounded like classic FOB. And into this, despite the evidence of your ears, the band denied that they were simply going back to the old ways. Sure. Whatever. Keep telling yourselves that.

Perhaps, then, the most rewarding thing about So Much (For) Stardust isn't that there are big guitars everywhere and less sense that you're being asked to explore a weird dimension, but that that they weren't actually lying. It's closer to the band you recognise as the authors of From Under The Cork Tree and Infinity On High, but there's also so much that stops this just being the easy ride it could have been.

Hold Me Like A Grudge has a strut to it that makes Justin Timberlake look like his arse is hanging out. Fake Out is almost like hazy ’80s radio rock a la Don Henley's Boys Of Summer. So Good Right Now is classic FOB with its dancing shoes on, ditto the superb What A Time To Be Alive. The dramatic strings on I Am My Own Muse, or the shadowy closing vibes of the title-track are pitched just right to add character without falling into farce.

It's refreshing that Patrick Stump's songwriting skills and genius hand with a melody are presented here so un-messed with. As a man who's so often given the nod to artists like Elton John and 1950s American 'King Of Soul' Sam Cooke, to hear such influences coming through to articulately, but with his own fingerprints so impressed on them, is testament the man's talent. The result is somewhere between emo and Mark Ronson. It's superb.

So, Fall Out Boy have pulled something of a switcheroo on us. So Much (For) Stardust does have a foot in a past FOB, but where they're taking you is somewhere you weren't expecting, and it's equally welcome. Just as importantly, they sound like Fall Out Boy again.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: My Chemical Romance, Elton John, Paramore

So Much (For) Stardust is out now via Fueled By Ramen

Read this: Fall Out Boy: “So often people are comparing eras, but this is the start of a new thing”

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