Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust

After years of fans comparing their past to their future, the two eras of the band feel reconciled.

Label: Fueled By Ramen / Elektra
Released: 24th March 2023

Don’t call it a throwback, warned Patrick Stump after the release of rip-roaring lead single ‘Love From The Other Side’ heralded ‘So Much (For) Stardust’ back in January. It felt like a 2007 wormhole had opened up, spitting out an urgent rock hook backed by distorted guitars and pounding drums. It was a tantalising sneak preview that got fans in a spin about a ‘return to their roots’.

Is this the sound of Fall Out Boy slipping into the warm embrace of nostalgia? Far from it. The warm synths and chant-along refrain of second single ‘Heartbreak Feels Good’ is more informed by their last decade of pop experimentation than their punkier 2000s beginnings. Rather than throw their recent history out the window, Stump and co. artfully channel that pop know-how through six strings and a Marshall stack.

The disco strut of ‘Hold Me Like a Grudge’ is a brand new disguise, Wentz holding down the bass groove before the guitars hit you in the face, while ‘Fake Out’ is all summery acoustic strums. Despite again sounding very much a four-piece band, FOB never devolve to three-chord pop-punk; ‘So Good Right Now’ is a joyous 60s romp that’s more Beach Boys than blink-182.

If there are similarities to the likes of ‘Infinity On High’ (2007), it’s in the gleeful abandon the band throw around jazz-hands rhythms, indulgent orchestral accompaniment, harmonised guitars and even the return of spoken word from Wentz, rather than grasping to replay any of their greatest hits note for note. Hell, there’s even an emo heir to Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘December’ on the ecstatic ‘What A Time To Be Alive’.

By the time the bombastic and addictive title-track closes things out, Fall Out Boy have achieved something remarkable; that after years of fans comparing their past to their future, the two eras of the band feel reconciled.

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