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coverpic flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 129 - 04/02/07

Fall Out Boy
Infinity on High
Island Records

Many purists have feared the apocalyptic collision of Britney Spears pop and mid west pop punk for some time now. For their third major label album, resident tween heart throbs Fall Out Boy turn such apprehension into a delightfully blasphemous reality. Contrary to what the haters may tell you, it's an inspired career move full of rap cameos, thriving orchestral arrangements, and probably their most attractive material yet.

For the first half of Infinity on High FOB come out strong, making the most out of P.Diddy-style synths behind a lyrically damning (but far overdue) condemnation of third rate crunk and party hip-hop on "This Ain't a Scene, It's An Arms Race". With that, Wentz and Co.'s diabolical intentions are declared but not made clear. Who are they against exactly? Anti-emo elitists? American Idol? The Pussy Cat Dolls? The beauty of it all is they never really tell you.

Thanks to transforming abilities of Neal Avron's production, Fall Out Boy for the first time truly sound, in all the Backstreet Boy ramifications of the phrase "larger than life." Sometimes too large to sustain originality: Eleanor Rigby style string arrangements and Coldplay atmospheres strangle the legitimacy out of "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" and "The (After) Life of the Party". Such opulence suggests they're trying to out-panic their protégés Panic! At The Disco. Regardless of whether or not they are, their efforts turn out some painfully lame consequences.

After spending the latter half of Infinity trying to prove they're still the heartfelt rock band that gave us Take Us To Your Grave and From Under The Cork Tree, ending on a fantastic note on "I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears..." It's probably the only song where the hired orchestra minstrels earn their keep for a grandiose but upbeat ballad. With Infinity behind them it's still unclear what Fall Out Boy is trying to save or destroy as they haphazardly tip toe the line between radio pop and the anxious guitar rock that gave birth to them.

Copyright © 2007 Matthew DeMello e-mail address

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