If you don't have a weak spot for Ronnie Radke, chances are you're lying. Everyone loves a bad guy turned good, right? The ex-Escape The Fate vocalist has certainly made a name for himself with his band Falling In Reverse, and his impenetrable ego is all part of the appeal. There's something about his self confidence that draws even an anti-ego activist like me like a moth to a heavily-tattooed flame. Ronnie's larger-than-life image bursts through every track from The Drug In Me Is You, but has he taken a different path with Fashionably Late?
Not by any means, but that's not a bad thing. Falling In Reverse are the unexpected Jacks of all trades - departing from pop through rap, a brief stop at country, and arriving at metal - Fashionably Late showcases every genre you never expected to hear from them, and yet the overbearing egotistical theme remains. Don't let the relaxed cover deceive you, this album is full of energy and confidence, just what we wanted.
Champion was a little less in-your-face than I expected, but the rapping still caught me off guard. I don't think I like Ronnie rapping. No, correction, I don't like Ronnie rapping. Don't get me wrong, he's good at it, it's just not something I rave for.
In complete contrast, Bad Girl's Club brings back memories of Forever The Sickest Kids, and somehow I'm okay with its tech-poppy overload, my inner teenybopper finds it appealing. From there, things get a little deeper, as Rolling Stone and Born To Lead echo Escape The Fate's former heaviness at the hands of Ronnie, while Self Destruct Personality puts it's own tricksy spin on metal. You have to hear it to believe it.
The band's recognisable lyrical magic remains throughout, making Fuck The Rest my new anthem for the summer, even with a cheeky reference to 'Charlie bit my finger' right at the end.
If you've been hunting for an ode to your video gaming childhood, Game Over fits the bill. Although I was more Tomb Raider than Mario, I can still relate to this, but my misplaced sense of innocence refuses to believe an ulterior motive to describing chasing after coins.
Keep Holding On was a pleasant surprise, the high-pitched guitars competing with the piano, the Queen-worthy solo, making a great and welcome change from FIR's usual pop-punk material.
One to listen out for on this album is the country-esque Drifter, I found myself toe-tapping within seconds. This is the first, but not the last, signal of Falling In Reverse's maturity on the album, not a scrap of ego to be found, much like The Westerner from their debut album, Drifter brings you back down to earth with a thump - the reality behind a singer's drive to make music isn't as glamorous as we like to think.
Remember all those completely inappropriate songs the kids would sing on the playground, whether they knew what it was about or not? The album's title track Fashionably Late should be one of them for the new generation. Just don't go quoting this in front of your partner, eh? Believe me, I've struggled.
Last but by no means least, the band's first single from the album, Alone, showcases Ronnie's respectable attempt at rapping. I don't think it suits him but kudos to him for throwing it out there. It's catchy as hell, what more could we ask for? Listen out for the unexpected Suicide Silence-esque breakdown.
All in all, a varied and diverse album brings Falling In Reverse back on top form. Try putting FiR in a category, I dare you. These guys put all their effort behind breaking moulds, stereotypes and hearts, and Fashionably Late hasn't disappointed.
What was the inappropriate song you'd sing on the playground?