Frank Iero and the Future Violents – Barriers
Released: May 31st, 2019
Back in 2016, Frank Iero arguably released two of the best albums of the year. Whether it was the electronic chaos in Death Spells or his second solo album Parachutes, it was proof he had come into his own as an artist and could finally stand out of the shadow of his former band. Three years later and Iero has come back into the music scene with Barriers, an album that challenges and defies any expectations you may have had of him as an artist.
From the opening notes of the restrained and yet hopeful opener ‘A New Day’s Coming,’ all bets are off as Iero presents his most musically varied mix of songs for your listening pleasure. Seemingly about his struggles through life, death and whatever in between. The punk rock urgency of his early years in hardcore bands even gets a nod in ‘Young and Doomed’ with his former band (you know the one) getting a sweet reference when Iero exclaims “I promise, I’m not okay… Oh wait, that’s the other guy” before dragging us all down with him with his infectious energy.
The chops of producer Steve Albini are on full display as he molds the noisier parts of this album into absolutely raw stabs into the soul. This is especially evident with the light and dark balancing act of ‘Fever Dream’ with the noise sections hitting you like a bloodstained fist to the face. Songs like ‘The Host’ borrow straight from the shoegaze bands of the ’90s with The Smashing Pumpkins being a clear influence with Iero reaching a grandiosity never before seen in his work with its dreamlike rhythms showcasing the sense of hope that runs throughout this entire record.
But it’s the most experimental parts of this record that are the most awe-inspiring. Whether it’s the piano ballad ‘The Unfortunate’ oozing with hope and sorrow as Iero tells a tale of love and loss that aches with fragility or the all-out crash course in stripped back punk rock destruction that is ‘Moto Pop’ which just begs to be blasted at the highest volume in existence while you speed down a dusty highway with the sun at your back and the windows down. Before we forget, the addition of Kayleigh Goldsworth is really what brings this entire album together whether it’s the piano she pumps throughout the record or her vocals, which are particularly noteworthy in ‘‘Medicine Square Garden’ where they inject a much-needed balance to accompany Iero while he pushes his musical repertoire even further with a song that brims with an almost sexual energy before it blasts off into the stratosphere.
Ending the album with ‘24K Lush’ Iero aches with sadness as his emo vocals pull us straight up into the clouds and never lets us out from underneath his message of hope that is the lifeblood of this album as a whole. It’s a perfect endnote to this breathtaking piece of art.
With this album, Frank Iero has created his most defining statement as a solo artist. The level of creative risk he has on this album has paid off and proves once and for all that he no longer needs to live in the shadow of his former band. There is no telling where Iero will go from here. But Barriers will prove to be the jumping point, where no one will ever pigeonhole him again.
Frank Iero and the Future Violents – Barriers Tracklisting
1.A New Day’s Coming
2. Young And Doomed
3. Fever Dream
4. The Host
5. Basement Eyes
6. Ode To Destruction
7. The Unfortunate
9. Medicine Square Garden
10. No Love
11. Police Police
12. Great Party
13. Six Feet Down Under
14. 24k Lush
Barriers is OUT NOW via UNFD. Grab a copy here
Reviewed by: Kaydan Howison