Local Wire

Fall Out Boy

Sub-par live shows, photos of bassist Pete Wentz's penis, and petty Internet fights with ex-friends can't stop the pop-punk juggernaut known as Fall Out Boy. Any criticism lobbed at the Chicago quartet is addressed head-on or is slyly incorporated into lyrics and videos, meaning that the band is practically immune from haters — which becomes even more infuriating when one realizes that Fall Out Boy also continues to write better songs than the majority of its peers. That's eminently clear on Infinity on High, its latest album, released in 2007 after 2005's From Under the Cork Tree made them heroes of the hoodie set. Despite even thicker coats of studio gloss (a move that gives several tunes a generic edge), High contains catchier hooks, bigger choruses, and more vocal histrionics than a MySpace flame war. It's also more diverse (the pensive piano ballad "Golden" contains a brief spoken-word intro by Jay-Z) and shockingly danceable, with handclaps and disco-flecked backbeats. High's best track is the zing-laden "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs," whose Spanish guitars, scissor-kicking harmonies, cinematic strings, and minor chords crash together messily to form an arena-ready masterpiece.