After providing us with something of a masterclass in creating a sudden media frenzy, Fall Out Boy‘s seemingly erratic return yielded results which more than proved a lust for the band has never ceased to bubble under the surface since their career intermission in 2010. Whether a salivating devotee, casual fan or a fleet fingered internet troll, ‘Save Rock And Roll’ finds itself in the category of must listen as with the weight of expectation upon it, the record is an inevitable curiosity. Unfortunately, the most chin stroking question raised here is why the band have chosen such a tepid direction with which to return.
Although, opening with the one-two punch of ‘The Phoenix’ with its sassy aggression and the audacious stomp of love/hate single ‘My Song’s Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)’, things begin promisingly. Despite an unashamedly pop sheen being rather boldly forefront, a certain call to arms strut and a strangely accessible venom sees this brace of songs perhaps competing with any of the more anthemic numbers in the Fall Out Boy canon. It’s unfortunate therefore that proceedings take a rather steep nose dive from here.
With the band embracing a flavour of mainstream sugar coating, tracks such as a drearily passable ‘Alone Together’ sap any bravado and grit to replace it with inoffensive pop plastic, leaving a bitter taste which lingers throughout ‘The Mighty Fall’ and its synthetic posturing from rapper Big Sean and the synth led drudge of ‘Miss Missing You’.
The biggest issue here is the lack of hooks. From an outfit known for crafting what are some of the most recognizable choruses in modern music, songs such as the closing title track (which even an appearance from the mighty Sir Elton John cannot save) and an acoustic led ‘Young Volcanoes’ are just so wholly unremarkable that they sweep by us without an ounce of infectiousness to bring us back. Production wise, ‘Save Rock And Roll’ makes an impressive masquerade of sounding colossal, yet substance is in terminally short supply.
All too polished and all too forgettable, it’s not unfair to say that album number six from this Illinois quintet is certainly too limp to be ‘saving’ anything. Espousing a radio friendly gloss is one thing, yet when married to what is undeniably the band’s most dire songwriting display yet, it’s perhaps best to take leave of the record after the second track, and cling to the memory of a Fall Out Boy we could never lose our fondness for.
Written by Tony Bliss