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Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High – CD
With their second album, Infinity on High, Fall Out Boy walk a fine line between emo darlings and American rock gods. The clever, angst-ridden outcast lyrics are still there (as on “I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off”), but this time around they display a cockiness that unusual for the scene that gave birth to them. And it’s not just in the borderline godlike hubris of album title Infinity on High, it’s also present in the surly album-opening statement from Jay-Z (“We dedicate this album to anybody who said we couldn’t make it…”). But often, this self-assuredness works to their advantage. Musically, this is a much heavier and punchier album than its predecessor, and vocalist Patrick Stump sounds better than ever (aside from those rare, ill-advised uses of a vocoder). And they’re willing to play around with their sound, as when a string section and mandolin add a dark-edged atmosphere to “Thks fr th Mmrs”, or the horn arrangements on the album’s epic highlight “The (After)Life of the Party” and “I’ve Got All This Ringing in my Ears and None in my Fingers”. All this grandeur may not be in keeping within the punk ethic, but Fall Out Boy have left most of their punkier roots behind on Infinity on High and taken the first steps towards becoming a great American rock band. –Ted Kord