“Truant Wave” proves Stump’s not all washed up

Photo via Nervous Breakdance Media.

When you’re listening to a record called “Truant Wave,” it’s really only appropriate to come to it over a month late.

That’s a bit facetious on my part, but it might be necessary to state for an album that’s anything but truant. In fact, the six-song EP, the solo debut of a certain Mr. Patrick Stump, was completely unknown until a week before its digital release in February.

What’s actually truant is Stump’s real debut, “Soul Punk,” an album as overhyped as “Truant Wave” was underhyped. Intended to hit shelves earlier this year, the release of “Truant Wave” pushed Stump’s LP back indefinitely, with rumors saying the album will hit this summer.

“Truant Wave’ll” do for now though — or at least most of it will.

The album, you see, is meant to be a combination of a taste of Stump’s new sound — a jarringly non-Fall Out Boy electronic R&B mishmash — and a chance for him to play with a few friends, who will be totally absent from his solo album, where he turns into a one-man band of sorts.

Of course, by friends, I mean people the average FOB fan (or the average person, as far as I and Wikipedia can tell) has never heard of. The only one who’s moderately familiar sounding to me is D.A. Wallach, better known as the Milwaukee-born singer for pop/rock/alternative hip hop band Chester French. So there’s that.

That’s okay, though, because the guest tracks aren’t all that great. It’s the other three — “Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia),” “Love, Selfish Love” and “As Long as I Know I’m Getting Paid” — that make “Truant Wave” really shine.

The first, “Spotlight,” is really only half the song, in a way. Back when we thought we were getting “Soul Punk” in February, Stump put up a poll on his site, asking fans to pick between two versions of the song, “Old Nostalgia” and “New Regrets.” “Old Nostalgia” ended up winning, but Stump decided to build “Truant Wave” around the song rather than put it on the album proper.

Nostalgia is putting it mildly. “Spotlight (Old Nostalgia)” is the closest to classic Fall Out Boy sound the album gets, and it’s also far and away the album’s best track. The aforementioned guest tracks are couched in bad hip-hop, “Love, Selfish Love” is a solid, occasionally tedious track with a strange mix of robotic drum machine and clacking handmade percussion, and “Paid” is a trippy synth production that is strangely catchy.

They’re not Stump’s best work, unfortunately, but in a way, that’s part of their appeal — they’re good enough to make us want “Soul Punk,” and bad enough to make us want “Soul Punk.”

Good work, Mr. Stump. I guess.

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