Gritty punk with touches of everything.
Fully immersed in his solo endeavours post-My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero offers up his first full length 'Stomachaches'; full of fuzzy punk rock and touches of electronica. Iero plays it fast and loose with rough distortions and thrash style moments that are in your face and noisey, it's punk but with modern moments of melody.
Opener 'All I Want Is Nothing' and first single 'Weighted' feel like they could have been pulled from the Tony Hawk's ‘Wasteland’ Soundtrack, remember that? When "newer" bands covered old punk songs? It was fun. This record follows that vibe: fun, carefree, get drunk and push some letter-boxes over or something you rambunctious scallywags enjoy.
It's not all a thrash party however and Iero takes some solemn moments like 'She's the Prettiest Girl at the Party and She Can', a gentle guitar driven ballad that has him taking some vocal cues from his MCR buddy Gerard Way set to a waltz.
While this is all fine, it's the louder and looser moments of the record that are the best, the crashing chorus of chaos in 'Joyriding', for example, which cuts in with some electronic programming sound like the various projects of the Blink 182 guys that aren't Blink 182. The record is far too rough to receive any mainstream attention, which is honestly part of its appeal, these songs are very well written, catchy little numbers that a thrown underground by their grittiness. 'Smoke Rings', as a case study, is industrial punk, electronic beats with a hail of screams and buzzsaw guitars that is like a mash of KMFDM and The Hard Ons.
It's simple but brilliant, the mesh of influences is seamless and carefree. The record switches to more of an indie rock feel on 'Guiltripping' before closing the show on 'Where Do We Belong? Anywhere But Here', a dark solo guitar and vocal number that toggles between a sweet melody and devilish sneer.
While few will probably take notice of this record for more than the fact that this guy was in My Chemical Romance, it is truly worth some spins. It's some of the grittiest punk rock released in a while with enough outside influences thrown in to be completely mesmerising.
1. All I Want Is Nothing
3. Blood Infections
4. She's The Prettiest Girl at the Party and She Can
5. Stiches 6. Joyriding
7. Stage 4 Fear of Trying
10. Smoke Rings
12. Where Do We Belong? Anywhere But Here