Frank Iero and The Future Violents – ‘Barriers’

By Renette van der Merwe

Friends, Frank Iero returns with the third iteration of his solo band, The Future Violents, and his first new music since 2016’s ‘Parachutes’. ‘Barriers’ also marks three years since a life-altering accident that left the former My Chemical Romance guitarist openly questioning his own mortality. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising that the new record is both intensely cathartic and beautifully raw in equal measures.

Cohesively, ‘Barriers’ feels like a glimpse behind that particular curtain and, despite not being a concept album, there is a strong sense of a definitive point A and B, and riding shotgun as Iero makes a tumultuous journey between the two.

The pace changes often as it wavers between genres, making it his most experimental album to date. Tracks like ‘No Love’ and ‘Police Police’ blossom with post punk potential, whilst the swelling choruses of ‘24k Lush’ and ‘Basement Eyes’ have 90s rock tendencies. The album opens with gospel-infused ‘A New Day’s Coming’ and winds down with the blues-tinged confessions of ‘Six Foot Down Under’ – the latter making no effort to disguise Iero’s existential struggle – but in no way does it feel disconnected. If anything, it feels evolved; showcasing varied influences, excellent songwriting and musicianship, and certainly the broadest vocal range we’ve seen from Iero thus far.

Standout songs include energetic rock ‘n roll number ‘Moto Pop’, single ‘Young and Doomed’, and ‘Fever Dream’, which has a prominent unsettling undercurrent that makes you feel as though you’re wrestling with fits of feverish confusion for four minutes.

The addition of Kayleigh Goldsworthy’s piano riffs and string instruments throughout the album might be subtle at times, but go a long way in creating a richer and fuller sound alongside the artistry of the rest of the band.

With ‘Barriers’, Iero bares his soul by confessing his innermost doubts and anxieties, and in the process creates a wonderfully layered album that’s angry, ugly, and sad, but also tender and alluring. It’s authentic in the truest of terms and, amidst the organised chaos, signals a huge milestone for Iero and his Future Violents.

RENETTE VAN DER MERWE

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