Fall Out Boy: you either love them or you hate them. At one point, they were one of the biggest Rock bands around, surrounded by swarms of fans, money and press. But then they went on hiatus. When they returned during mid-2013, many old fans either loved the new stuff or loathed it.

Releasing what was essentially a Pop record to many, Fall Out Boy lost the respect of some fans and again came under the iron sights of lovers for the more extreme side of music. So, with the release of Pax-Am Days, can the band start to gain the respect of fellow music fans? It’s a good question and one that can only be answered in due time. But seeming as this new release is something very different to anything the band has ever previously put out, it will definitely be something that will make some people scratch their heads with some slight confusion.

Pax-Am Days is a homage of sorts for the band. It is perceived by them as a mixtape to pay their respects to the Hardcore/Punk bands they grew up listening to. An 8 track affair running for no more than a quarter-hour, it certainly seems like the right length for a Hardcore-Punk album. As for it’s sound, it definitely has that too. With fast, thrashy bangers that scream influence from bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Dead Kennedys and just about any other Punk and Hardcore act in the
80’s and 90’s, Fall Out Boy have definitely nailed the feel of their chosen genres. With highly distorted guitars, dirty-feeling bass grooves and stupid amounts of fast drumming, the band certainly knows how to construct the music. As proven from the moment you press play.

Kick starting this little love affair is the short, bittersweet banger ‘We Were Doomed From the Start (The King is Dead)’. It has a slow intro but abruptly kicks in. Imagine a kick to the private parts. That is how this feels when it kicks in. Yes, the band better known for it’s Pop-Rock music than its Hardcore-Punk can actually create something aggressive. Who would’ve guessed? But the vocals kick in and this is where you may get confused. Punk and Hardcore vocals are more commonly known as
being highly aggressive and shouty. These however, are more a-kin to that of The Dead Kennedys.

They aren’t highly shouty and you can tell that it is Patrick behind the mic. He still maintains his usual vocal style but they seem more powerful, a little more aggressive here. Whether you like them or not, they do work really well, which I find rather odd. Because although it isn’t pure aggression, it is still strong and still makes everything feel complete. The 8 track affair moves through some great tracks such as ‘Hot To The Touch, Cold On The Inside’, ‘Love, Sex, Death’ and ‘Demigods’. All appropriate song names for a Punk-infused album and they are all great to listen to.

The velocity of the instruments and the oddly amazing vocal performance contribute to a great mix that no-one would really ever expect to see from a band not known for this particular style of music. The mixtape ends on the longest track, ‘Caffeine Cold’, clocking in at 2 minutes and 44 seconds. It is a great closing track and works so very, very well. It is not only satisfying but yet truly fulfilling. A great closure to a great little piece of music.

With the album being recorded and produced within a few days, this suffers from no form of bad production quality. Ryan Adams truly knows how to handle this form of music with expert mixing and mastering. It sounds rough, dirty and slightly aggressive but that is how it is meant to sound. It works very well and is sure to please some fans that prefer even the most extreme forms of music around. You can laugh all you want about Fall Out Boy but you can’t deny that they don’t know how to make a damn good ode to the genres they grew up loving.

This could be something ignored by their fans or it could be loved by them all. It is definitely something that should garner some respect from extreme music fans and it is something that is thoroughly delightful to listen to. A Fall Out Boy fan or not, this is worth a listen, even if it is just once. It features great Punk-fueled riffs on the guitars and bass and has some terrific drumming.

The stand out for me though is the vocals. I adore some
truly aggressive vocals, being a huge extreme music fan myself but this is something so much more different to the standard Punk vocals. And I adore it. I think they are some of the most amazing vocals I’ve heard in a while. They are aggressive but yet they maintain so much beauty behind them too. They’re strong and don’t seem to falter. To anyone who reads this, I recommend looking up this short little masterpiece. I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to see a band show how
versatile they can be.

This was very unexpected of this band and I wouldn’t be surprised if people are doubtful of it. But I urge you to listen and to make up your own mind. I personally love this effort. I love the fact that they recorded an ode to a genre people wouldn’t think they would ever want to be associated with. This is not going to be something we are likely to see them doing that often, which is a shame because it suits them. But at least we’ll always have this. Something truly beautiful, unique and original. Not often I get to say that these days. Listen and decide for yourself. But I personally love this.


- Asa