Fall Out Boy fans whose first taste of Patrick Stump as a solo artist is via the Truant Wave EP are in for a surprise. The emo/pop-punk anthems that were the Chicago band’s stock in trade have been replaced by anthems that owe much more to the sound of dance-pop artists like Chromeo. Filled with danceable, shiny pop jams, Truant Wave suggests the work of a more lyrically inclined Justin Timberlake than it does anything vaguely reminiscent of FOB. Not that I’m complaining.

It’s fairly well-known that Stump wasn’t entirely comfortable with his old band’s choice of material. “Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)” is probably the song that comes closest to FOB’s anthemic sound, although the guitars have been replaced by pianos and a more atmospheric, Coldplay-esque sound. “Cute Girls” flips the script a little bit, with Neptunes-sounding production and an alternately sweet and tough vocal (tics, grunts and all) that owes more than a little to the King of Pop. Sure, the album could do without the guest rappers (who are all sort of unobtrusive), but that’s a minor quibble, as Truant Wave has a hookiness that improves on the template that Pete Wentz set as FOB’s main songwriter and has a clarity that FOB’s songs didn’t always have.

It’s hard to imagine a lead singer as second banana, but that was Patrick Stump’s role in Fall Out Boy. Truant Wave sets the stage for his official coronation as “the man”, and definitely whets my appetite for future material.

Grade: B+

Word Count: 248

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