Among the many swindles perpetuated by the music biz — payola, hidden ticket fees, Milli Vanilli — one of the biggest has been selling Fall Out Boy as emo, punk, or any other snarling, eyelinered iteration of angry-boys-with-guitars. In truth, a power-pop heart beats beneath those no-day-job tattoos, and their fourth album, Folie á Deux (which loosely translates as ”a madness shared by two”), is testament to that, even if it sometimes flags.
Folie kicks off smartly with the near-perfect radio valentine ”Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes,” a towering guitar anthem built on wedding-march organs, thundering drums, and singer Patrick Stump’s limber vocals. It’s a feat quickly followed by stadium fillers ”America’s Suitehearts” and ”I Don?t Care.”
So far, so great. Alas, the band increasingly suffers from Celebrity Meta Syndrome, in which well-known artists end up singing mostly about the problems associated with…being well-known artists. Still, the band’s over-the-topness serves them well; Stump makes lines like ”Why why why won’t the world revolve around me?” come off as satire rather than narcissism, and the Elton-esque ”What a Catch, Donnie,” with its boldface backup crew — Elvis Costello and Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, among others — is perhaps the most fun legally allowed in a power ballad. (Less wow? Middling cameos by Pharrell Williams and Deborah Harry.) Passionate, splashy, and ambitious, Folie isn’t flawless by any stretch, but it’s no folly either. B
Download This: Keep checking the band’s MySpace to listen to songs from the new album