Review: American Beauty/American Psycho

Abigail Smith 30 January 2015

It was always going to be difficult for Fall Out Boy to follow up the explosive comeback that was Save Rock and Roll, which saw them move away from their ‘emo’ trappings, with collaborations with massive names such as Courtney Love and Elton John. After the impromptu roughness of PAX AM Days, American Beauty/American Psycho feels incredibly polished, and more than arena-ready.

Once lost in the shadow of Pete Wentz’s off-stage antics, Patrick Stump now undoubtedly goes a long way in carrying this album; from his embittered cries on 'Novocaine' to the soulful crooning on 'Jet Pack Blues', his vocal range never fails to astound, and the band don’t hesitate to take advantage of this. The heavy use of sampling is a welcome addition too. From the surf style Munsters theme in 'Uma Thurman' to a sample of Motley Crue on the title track, the band leave no pop culture stone unturned; it’s just a shame that Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley’s playing feels a bit overshadowed by this.

The first half of the album is a fast-paced adrenaline ride, carefully blending genres to create a decidedly unique sound. The title track is relentless, feeling like a throwback to their Evening Out With Your Girlfriend days, while 'Centuries' and 'Uma Thurman' are enormous stadium sing-alongs.

By contrast the second half of the album falls a little flat, from the saccharine-sentimentality of 'Fourth of July', to 'Favorite Record', which feels like it's simply trying too hard. It is thankfully saved by 'Twin Skeleton’s', a breathless and pounding closer, with extensive layering and brilliant guitar from Trohman, matched only by the energy of 'Novocaine'.

The record is certainly not without its duds, but overall the album is one which simply demands to be listened to. It is hard not to sing-along to tracks like 'The Kids Aren’t Alright', and on the whole Wentz’s lyrics are stronger than ever. It’s not as accessible as Save Rock and Roll, but it cements the unique sound that Fall Out Boy have made their signature.