Last Friday, Frank Iero and The Future Violents released the full-length record Barriers, a 14-track collection of songs that will make you kick, cry, scream- and everything in between.
The record starts with a slow, deliberate song titled ‘A New Day’s Coming.’ It’s a melancholy opener, so if you came for something with a little more heat, don’t let it scare you off. The next song, ‘Young and Doomed’ is rife with sarcastic and emotional lyrics, as well as the band’s distinctive brand of poppy and punchy guitars. As frontman Frank Iero aggressively wails ‘I admit I got problems; show me someone who don’t’, you might find yourself headbanging and breaking out the jet-black eyeliner, rekindling that rebellious spirit that got you into alternative music in the first place. The next track, Fever Dream, is a stand-out on the record. The rough vocals are chaotic and dynamic, the lyrics are wistful and thoughtful, and the guitars are downright metal. In fact, the track is such an explosion of energetic sound, it’ll probably will make a guest appearance in your next fever dream. ‘The Host’ has a more thoughtful vibe to it than the previous tracks, and a very The Cure-esque sound to it- you might forget for a moment that this is Frank Iero and not a Robert Smith-turned-post-hardcore. The next tracks, Basement Eyes and Ode to Destruction are grand, crashing anthems to being sad and fucked up that will have you dancing in front of the mirror quicker than any top 40 song out today, singing along to biting lines like ‘here’s to those that wish us well, the rest can go to hell!’
The rest of the record passes with similarly angst-driven spirit. ‘The Unfortunate’ is a remorseful, wistful piece with one of my favorite lines on the entire record: ‘I’m sorry darling, you deserved a better song’. ‘Moto Pop’, ‘Medicine Square Garden’, and ‘No Loves march on, bursting with energy and pure punk-rock. The back-end of the record finishes up on the darker side, as songs like ‘Great Party’ and ‘Six Feet Down Under’ keep up Iero’s emotional songwriting as he sends beat after beat of heartstring-pulling material your way. Finally, the record finishes with the song ‘24k Lush’, a perfect closer for the record. It’s got a slow, simple drum beat playing over Iero’s crooning vocals as he makes his way through another heart-wrenching episode of self-reflection. The chorus comes on strong, in a good way, and immediately backs off for more soft vocals and guitar melodies, and concludes with a powerful cacophony of distortion, crash cymbals, and a passionate vocal performance.
The aggression and raw talent of Iero’s previous post-MCR work is still prevalent in his latest piece, but this time there seems to be more direction to it. The guitars sound a little more cohesive, the drums hit a little more precisely, and the tracks are more 3-dimensional than previous LPs. Overall, if you like Iero’s past projects, music that’s a little off-kilter, or having too many emotions, this is your record. You’re bound to find something on this record that gets to you, and for many (myself included) a couple of these songs are going to end up on all your summer playlists.
If you haven’t checked out Frank Iero’s other projects, you can find them below, as well as links to his Twitter and Instagram. You can also catch Frank Iero and the Future Violents on tour this summer, featuring stops at both dates of Warped Tour and Riot Fest!