Frank Iero, formerly of 2000’s emo greats My Chemical Romance, is releasing his solo project Barriers on May 31st. Akin to namesake, barriers, considers how we set obstacles around ourselves for protection. Each song contemplates metaphorical walls that Iero has built up or knocked down, an experience most of us can relate to makes this album accessible. Evan Nestor, Matt Armstrong, Tucker Rule and Kayleigh Goldsworthy join Iero under the Frank Iero and the Future Violets moniker.
Half an hour before debuting the leading single “Young and Doomed”, Iero posted the lyrics a testament to his humorous character, by the line “I promise that I’m not okay” Iero wrote (← triggered?), which sent MCR fans into meltdown over the reference to MCR song “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”. This line is amplified in the recording by Iero witfully noting “oh wait, that’s the other guy”, a swift nod to MCR’s lead singer, Gerard Way, who has publicly shown his support of Iero’s newest work. “Young and Doomed” is as raucous as the music video demonstrates. The collective use of silhouettes, projected imagery and vibrant colours channel the song’s energy down to an acute rage. Existential crisis playing on the imagery of “Young and Doomed” is directed by isolated cameos of the band members with their childhood portraits placed over top to distort the band member’s features. This creepy scene reaches Iero’s aim of “scaring the shit” out of his audience.
Opening track “A New Day’s Coming” leads the listener into a false sense of security that this album will be lighthearted and joyful. Iero draws out each word in a wistful tone, repeating “new days a coming”, harmonised with Goldsworthy’s feminine voice that creates a hopeful soundscape. The musicianship is strong with a steady drum beat and a bluesy rhythmic guitar line. Opening with such gentle promises only heighten the contrast of the rest of the album that is much harsher in delivery as each track consecutively escalates with an aggressive undertone.
“Fever Dream” sounds like someone with a fever having a nightmare. A screaming guitar riff overrides Iero’s gritty scream that slides into a lowly whine. The tempo is pushed out and drawn back in for a drowsy sequence. The low rumbly wail is back in “Ode to Destruction”, only to be met with an onslaught of noise after the acapella-esque intro. The crashing of symbols is juxtaposed with gentle fingering on the keys. Iero sings the words “go to hell” fittingly, in the way you’d imagine someone burning in a fiery pit singing.
The MCR fans among us, who freaked at “Young and Doomed”, will undoubtedly carry on over the rest of Barriers. If you want to freak out in person, you can – Frank Iero and The Future Violents will be touring the album across North America.