Frank Iero and the Future Violents, Barriers
Barriers is not a listen for the faint-hearted. Barriers is not a listen for someone who just wants bangers (though it’s not short of them). Barriers is an intensely personal, deeply raw and at times heart-breaking album. Contrary to the album’s title, it seems like Frank Iero has taken all of his barriers down to come out with his latest full length, and it makes for nothing short of a moving, emotionally vicious masterpiece.
Opening track A New Day’s Coming lays to rest the old era – it sounds oddly like an ending, countryish and hymn-like in quality, shutting down any preconceptions you might have of where Barriers is going to take you. Where Parachutes felt like a development of .stomachaches., Barriers seems to be a refinement of Parachutes, with a sound Iero and his new band The Future Violents are fully confident in manipulating to create the most powerful music they can.
Barriers’ instrumentals are incredibly, consistently strong. There’s a piano we aren’t used to hearing from Iero, injecting style and swagger into tracks like Fever Dream, and weaving through Ode To Destruction and Great Party making sure their more-than-melancholy tone is expertly captivated. The former’s opening and the latter’s ending are both painfully vulnerable, isolating Iero’s vocals and heart-rendingly confessional lyrics. It’s not all sombre though: The Host’s guitar line has a quality of the best of pop-punk in its sad-but-boppiness, Medicine Square Garden lives up to its name and could fill arenas with its pure anthemic sound, and Police Police is tinged with vocals erring on the side of Leathermouth.
Where the album really spits out its standout tracks, though, is when you hear the songs that you immediately can’t help but picture live. Early on, Basement Eyes’ wall of sound and Ode To Destruction’s heavy drops conjure images of raucous mosh-pits and crowds screaming back every word, but they’re just a taste of what’s to come in album highlight Moto Pop. From the very first drum beat, from the first muffled lyrics, bodies WILL be flying. The Future Violents have created a four-minute hurricane of fast, loud, pure chaos – it’s feral, it’s venomous, it’s impossible to stay still, and Iero’s ferocious vocals set it off to perfection.
Barriers navigates its own emotional landscape with fear, with misery, with emptiness, but most importantly of all, with passion that never falters for a second. Iero has had his reservations about stepping forward and becoming a frontman, but as his latest work reveals the most intense of emotions laid out for scrutiny, it’s clear that musically and personally he’s never been more ambitious, and it’s paid off.
Barriers is out now via UNFD.