Pax-Am Days leaves more to be desired…
Um, what does one say about an eight-song EP that lasts just over 13 minutes? Well not very much to be honest. To add to the lack of words from my pen (or computer keyboard in this case), save for closer “Caffeine Cold”, none of the cuts reach two minutes in length. Basically, PAX AM Days is a punk-rock EP that contrasts the punk-pop that characterized the band’s 2013 comeback studio album, Save Rock and Roll. Some may prefer this edgier, quick-paced EP to the band’s more commercial albums (particularly the last), but personally, it just sounds incredibly random and clunky. And no, don’t scold me with things like “in the spirt of punk…” Fall Out Boy should likely make sure they keep the ‘pop’ affixed to the ‘punk’.
Sure punk isn’t exactly the most substantive genre, but here it’s reduced to even less substance, and I mean that with all respect to FOB. While “We Were Doomed From The Start (The King Is Dead)” sports appealing, gritty, grimy sounding guitars and aggressive vocals by, it just seems like this doesn’t seem like and ideal direction or sound for the band. “Art of Keeping Up Disappearances” doesn’t exactly give much flavor to savor itself, but like “We Were Doomed From The Start”, it does make a statement…of some kind. “Hot To the touch, Cold On The Inside” works a bit better than the opening duo, maybe because it has more defined production, and a couple more decipherable vocals. Or maybe it’s just finding something positive… “Love, Sex, Death” predictably highlights the titular lyrics during the chorus, leaving little to the imagination. To its credit, the music is worthwhile and definitely hearkens back to authentic punk. The song is average at best.
“Eternal Summer” like the majority of the EP is ‘all over the place’ with no shortage of being maniacal. Personally though, I prefer it more when Patrick Stump sings as opposed to screams. I just don’t think his voice is best served as a punk-rock singer without the soulfulness attached. “Demigods” isn’t too shabby, though I’d question if anyone will remember it a year from now (they won’t). Penultimate cut “American Made” plays like everything else – okay, but nothing to write home about or label as the savior to the genre. “Caffeine Cold” closes the album, which is a good thing for both FOB and even better for the listener.
So after spending 13 minutes listening, I’m thinking to myself, “so what” or maybe more dramatically, WTF? Pax-Am Days just didn’t pack much of a punch, even given its short duration. Yes, it showcases the aggressive, coarseness that epitomizes punk music, but I feel otherwise it’s a project that should remain nothing more than a side project such. And in case you were wondering I still love you Fall Out Boy – just not this EP!
Fall Out Boy | Pax-Am Days | Island | October 15, 2013