Since My Chemical Romance‘s split back in 2013, it’s safe to say that guitarist/backing vocalist Frank Iero has had quite the solo journey, arguably more so than his former bandmates.
‘Barriers’ sees his third studio album rise to fruition after his near-death experience back in 2016. The almost tragic event became the motivation behind the album’s 14 tracks, representing both the metaphorical and literal barriers that he has had overcome since.
The record has a different sound from his previous offerings; Iero has demonstrated in his past works that he likes to change things up from record to record, not only with the style of music but also a completely fresh backing band and new band name to boot.
Frank Iero & The Future Violents now consist of what Iero has described as his dream line-up, featuring long-time friend (and brother in-law) Evan Nestor alongside bassist Matt Armstrong (Murder By Death), drummer Tucker Rule (Thursday), and multi-instrumentalist, Kayleigh Goldsworthy.
The opening track for is an unusually slow twinkly ballad, ‘A New Day’s Coming’. This is a nod to one of the many new chapters in Iero‘s life as fatherhood has begun to influence his music, and the song is actually a take on a lullaby that he used to sing to his twin daughters before bed.
Following straight after, lead single ‘Young And Doomed’ introduces us to the sound the band’s latest line up has to offer. It’s gritty with an undertone of old school punk, and even includes a comical reference to his My Chemical Romance, “’cause kids are so unkind / To kids of different kinds / And I promise that I’m not okay / Oh, wait, that’s the other guy.” A tactical nod to the song that shot the band into the spotlight.
One of the standout offerings, ‘Moto Pop’, sits perfectly halfway through the album and is filled with exciting guitar riffs and oozes exuberance throughout similar to the kind of record that you’d expect from The Strokes.
Since his near-death experience whilst on tour in Australia three years ago, Iero often mentions in interviews how it changed his life and that he feels as if he isn’t the same guy he was before the accident. ‘Six Feet Down Under’ reflects this beautifully, referring to his emotions of that day and how he wasn’t ready for death, yet still not entirely convinced he survived.
As the next chapter in Frank Iero‘s life, ‘Barriers’ encapsulates a momentous time and, together with The Future Violents, the quintet have produced a tight record from start-to-finish. It’ll be interesting to see if this formation will be maintained, or if there will be a fourth evolution in his ongoing venture as a solo artist.