Today marks the release of the new album from Frank Iero, this time with his band The Future Violents. Iero never thought he would be making a solo record, let alone three, but sometimes music just has to be made. Plus, this third release compliments Frank’s special numbers of 1-3-1 (I’ll leave you to find out about the significance of those numbers on your own).
Two years on from a tragic road accident that almost cost the band their lives, these songs were begging to be released. Doing so was a painful and cathartic experience for Iero and led to a record that explored the barriers he was either breaking down or building up around himself, hence the title. Barriers sees Iero push himself into musical areas he’s never been before, and the result is a tumultuous, emotive, beautiful record that seems to perfectly communicate his state of mind. Even if we took away the lyrics, the sounds that emanate from Frank’s mouth would be enough to convey the intense emotions he feels in every one of his songs. His raw and unpolished voice can move us and break us in the most uncomfortably delicious ways.
Of the album Iero says, “Barriers is a record that I still can’t believe I made and I’m so incredibly proud of it. I can’t wait for other people to be shocked and appalled and inspired by it. Hopefully it scares the shit out of them.”
Barriers opens with ‘A New Day’s Coming’, a gospel-inspired lullaby, the chorus of which he would sing to his children before bed, before crashing into the records first single ‘Young and Doomed’. This punky, crashy track is everything you expect from Frank Iero and so much more, and we can’t forget that cheeky My Chemical Romance reference that sent fans into a frenzy.
The addition of Kayleigh Goldsworthy’s keyboards and multi-instrumental talents bring a whole dimension to this record that blended with the guitars creates an often dark and brooding sound. Imagine if The Smiths and The Cure had a kid, and that grew up to be a My Chem fan, and you might be close to understand the ambiance of this record.
‘Moto Pop’ explodes into your ears and injects a huge shot of adrenaline to get you ready for ‘Police Police’ which has a genuine 80s punk feel with a dash of early Misfits. So many bands today overproduce their music, constantly tweaking it on computers to make it “perfect”. The imperfections and breaks in Frank’s voice ironically make his sound perfect and his rawness, in both emotion and production, take us back to true punk rock. It would be extremely difficult to compare Frank Iero to any other artist right now, his songs are written just for him, to be performed by only him, truly unique.
As the album draws to a close we come to one of Barriers stand out tracks and ‘Six Feet Down Under’ will give you chills. Iero relives the night of the accident through this track resulting in a creepy, almost disjointed blend of singing and spoken word over a shoegazey, gothic-blues arrangement. It’s hauntingly beautiful. Final track ‘24K Lush’ feels like the perfect close to this record, a song that is in a totally different place to where we were at the start of the album, it feels…hopeful. The backing vocals and crescendo work perfectly and we genuinely feel like we’ve come on a journey.
Barriers proves that Frank Iero doesn’t just write songs, he creates a story, a story imbued with feelings and emotions that we can all relate to. He often says this will be his last album, I desperately hope that isn’t the case.