Patrick Stump is something of an interesting character, isn't he? During his time with the wildly successful Fall Out Boy, he led his group through a series of pop-punk (border on pop toward the end of their career) releases, which garnered them an explosion of attention from 2003 to 2008. Since the band's indefinite hiatus announcement in 2010, he's been working on his upcoming solo album, Soul Punk. From this release spawned the six track EP, Truant Wave which was released in order to keep the fans satisfied until he could complete his full length - and with this release came quite the surprise. The album sports a boisterous and danceable power-pop sound, saturated with synth and club-pounding beats under Stump's powerfully soulful vocals. With such a remarkable career shift from one of the most well known mainstream pop-punk front men, it will undoubtedly create quite the hype machine from his devoted fans - but does it deserve such a response?
Unfortunately, the answer is a loud, resounding "no". The record is impressive in both production value and Stump's ability to control his voice magnificently, but is bogged down by the appalling clichés he utilizes in songs such as "As Long As I Know I'm Getting Paid", in which the title speaks for itself. In songs like "Cute Girls" where he does his finest Michael Jackson impression, he shows promise for his ability to craft and sustain catchy and memorable melodies, but interrupts his own momentum by introducing guest spots that fail to live up to the standards that Stump sets earlier on in the song. Opening track "Porcelain" is yet another track where the banalities and the awful guest appearances do nothing but overshadow any positive aspects - but on certain songs, these positive aspects are aplenty.
Pseudo-colossal finisher "Big Hype" sets up yet another perfect backdrop for Stump to work his enormous vocal range with, and for once he completely delivers. The boisterous and party focused themes of the earlier songs are finally humbled for a slower, and more powerful track which works wonderfully with Stump's ability to harmonize and build-up his vocalizations with the crescendo. Had the successful moments of both "Big Hype" and "Cute Girls" been smoothed out and built upon in a cleaner and more focused effort, then Stump's debut would be something worth hyping. Unfortunately he bogs down his work with clichéd and forgettable lyricism, as well as dreadful guest features that serve to do nothing but take away from his creative prowess. There are glimpses of him breaking out that prolific side of his brain when he sees fit, and one can only hope that he utilizes that for a more memorable effect on his upcoming LP. It may not satisfy long-time fans, but it shows hope for a brighter future for Stump's budding solo career.