Frank Iero initially rose to fame as the rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist of My Chemical Romance but following the break-up of the band in 2013, Iero set off on his own with his first solo project, in 2014. So far, the project has changed incarnations with each album (first as frnkiero and the cellabration, then Frank Iero and the Patience) and this third album is no different. 2019 sees him return as Frank Iero and the Future Violents with his third album, Barriers. Here’s what we have to say about it…
For this album, Frank and the band recorded 17 songs in just 15 days, all of which were recorded live and directly on to tape, giving the whole record a very raw feel.
The album opens with the aptly-named, ‘A New Day’s Coming’ – an organ led opening that serves as a sort of religious sermon before becoming slightly Country-tinted and like a song you might hear at a dive bar in the Deep South of America. The pairing of Frank’s vocal with a female’s makes for a great sound and the guitar solo is pretty epic too!
‘Young and Doomed’ (the lead single for the album) quickly follows, changing the pace of the record with a definite grungy, garage-rock anthem sound and a little nod to his My Chemical Romance days in the line, “And I promise that I’m not OK (Oh, wait, that’s the other guy.”
Other songs to take note of include: ‘Basement Eyes’ which is sort of like an early My Chemical Romance track – it’s a melodic, sorrowful and impactful track; ‘The Unfortunate’ has a folky vibe with violin and piano instrumentation making it a rather beautiful track and ‘Moto Pop’ conjures up images of the circle pits that will ensue when this track is played live. It’s possibly one of the best tracks on the record for its edgy, intense and fast-paced demeanour.
There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with.
There are other rather magical moments throughout the album, such as off-key harmonies on ‘Medicine Square Garden’, the haunting piano and a vocal reminiscent of the Deja Entendu days of Brand New on ‘Police Police’ and ‘The Host’ which is a dreamy, mellow rock track.
There are a few tracks however that seem to merge into one and don’t quite stand out from the rest; ‘Great Party’ displays somewhat naive songwriting – it’s rather angsty and stroppy as it details lusting after someone you miss whilst ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Ode to Destruction’ are more traditional, screamy punk songs.
The final two tracks on the record particularly make for a memorable impact on the listener though. ‘Six Feet Down Under’ addresses the accident Frank Iero had in Australia a couple of years back that proved nearly fatal. It has interesting vocal intonation on the verses, that are almost conversational. Finally, ’24k Lush’ brings Barriers to a rather epic-sounding close – it starts off mellow and even a little drab but builds to a rather melodic close, making the album appear to come full circle.
Barriers certainly has a garage rock band feel to it and a raw edginess of bands gone by, where albums were not over-produced to perfection. Flaws in Frank’s voice are able to stand out, meaning there’s a real vulnerability to the whole record.
There’s a lot to be admired about what Frank stands for in terms of his writing and recording process and certainly a lot of magic is captured by the process this was recorded with. It’s got a lot of wonderfully unique moments, however you certainly have to be someone that appreciates imperfections.
That said, some of the songs sound fairly similar in places, perhaps because the speed of recording and writing did not allow for much time to really tweak the sounds of the instruments and therefore differentiate between tracks?
However, there’s enough to be enjoyed about the unique, rawness of the songs that make it worth listening to and appreciating the craftsmanship.
‘Barriers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/barriers/1454839419
Barriers on Spotify
Young and Doomed (Official Music Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Frank Iero’s latest incarnation for his third full-length album release? Do you love it or loathe it? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.