Frank Iero returns this year with yet another cracking album, this time under the moniker of Frank Iero & The Future Violents. Barriers marks the third solo outing for the prolific musician who spent the better part of his career as rhythm guitarist for emo kings My Chemical Romance.
The gospel-esque A New Day’s Coming opens the album with it’s organ intro accompanied by Iero’s signature off-key vocals, something which only a handful of singers can really pull off, Iero most certainly being one of them. The song itself is an ode to leaving your past behind and embracing what’s ahead of you. It’s a song of hope and happiness and it really sets the mood for the entire album.
Lead single Young & Doomed comes crashing in with it’s loud guitars and much more of a full rock vibe than the previous track. It’s pure energy from start to finish, sporting a massive sing along chorus and some solid drumming from Tucker Rule of the band Thursday. Iero has actually gathered quite the entourage for this outing with longtime collaborator Evan Nestor once again on board along with multi-instrumentalist Kayleigh Goldsworthy of the band Dave Hause & The Mermaid and former Murder By Death bass player Matt Armstrong.
An unassuming piano intro brings Fever Dream to life before a punchy as hell guitar riff takes over with some somewhat aggressive vocals from Iero. It’s definitely one of the heavier songs that Barriers has to offer and offers a glimpse into the more angst-y side of Iero’s songwriting before things are taken down a notch with the beautifully written tune The Host. It still holds the energy of the previous two tracks but is a lot subtler in it’s approach with the distorted guitars taking a slight backseat in the verse and allowing some nice modulated sounds to take the spotlight before the chorus charges in.
Basement Eyes has an early 2000’s emo punk vibe to it in the vein of bands such as Against Me! and Taking Back Sunday while it’s predecessor Ode To Destruction brings back the piano-laden introductions to once again bring the pace back down for a brief moment before those heavily distorted guitars come roaring back to life. The soft-intro to heavy verse/chorus is a well-used formula across the entire album and helps to create a bending and weaving experience of highs and lows that keep you engaged throughout.
The ballad-y type stylings of The Unfortunate mark the halfway point with a slight breather before the pure punk energy of Moto Pop ignites that energetic flame once again. If this album had to be summed up in two words, they would have to be “positively energetic”. It really is a dance around the room banging your head kind of album. It’s fun, it’s catchy and leaves you with a sense of fulfillment after all is done and dusted.
Medicine Square Garden channels a nostalgic 80’s feel and gives us one of the lengthier tracks while paving the way for another dose of the 80’s pop vibe with No Love. But this throwback to electro-pop’s heyday doesn’t last long as Police Police takes over providing one of the darker and more punishing tracks of the albums extensive run time. At 14 tracks in length, Barriers may seem like an effort but trust me, you’ll be sad when it’s over. Not that it leaves you wanting more, it’s just that good that you’ll wish it wouldn’t end. Iero certainly knows how to write a decent song or two and this latest album should certainly bring his name to the forefront of punks and rockers alike.
The album winds up strongly with 24K Lush with the standard quiet-to-loud dynamic again taking you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion that simmers down to a softly spoken bridge before crashing out with one final powerful chorus. Barriers is absolutely one of the strongest and most honest releases of Iero’s long and prolific career and should see him enjoy all the successes he rightly deserves,
Barriers was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini and will be released via UNFD on May 31, 2019.
Frank Iero and The Future Violents - Young and Doomed [Official Music Video]