Frank Iero and The Future Violents - Barriers
Review by Shannon Shumaker
On his aptly titled new album, Barriers, Frank Iero and his band, The Future Violents, break down every boundary and barrier that they’ve ever set for themselves in the past. Barriers not only breaks the mold sonically, sounding like nothing Iero has ever done with his past two solo releases (or even previous projects), but it also forces listeners to confront otherwise uncomfortable emotions such as regret, fear and uncertainty. A very self-reflective album that will hopefully hit home with Iero’s receptive listeners, Barriers is easily his most vulnerable and dynamic release yet.
In a brave display of the album’s dynamic range, Iero kicks off Barriers with the optimistic opener, “A New Day’s Coming,” which first began life as a lullaby before morphing into the organ-led hymnal that it is now. The hopeful “A New Day’s Coming” perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album, not only emotionally but sonically as well. It feels like a new direction from the band, and the remaining thirteen songs follow suit.
While “A New Day’s Coming” is a rather optimistic opener, the songs that follow tend to explore darker, more vulnerable emotions. The energetic single, “Young And Doomed,” for instance, focuses on fear while the explosive “Fever Dream” practically oozes anxiety. With only one song separating them, “Fever Dream” couldn’t feel any more different than “A New Day’s Coming,” yet the album has a flow to it that’ll make the jump between sounds and emotions feel natural.
Somehow, Barriers finds Iero both going back to his roots and exploring new sounds. A perfect example of this is the contrast in sounds on songs like the punchy, punk track, “Fever Dream” and the incredibly dynamic “The Host,” which is driven by bright piano and emotional vocals. Songs like the big, anthemic “Basement Eyes” (easily one of the most stunning songs on the album) sits easily next to the darker, “Ode to Destruction.” This contrast in sounds can really be felt between the vulnerable, emotional apology, “The Unfortunate,” and the grungy, timeless and high energy, “Moto-Pop,” which follows. And the best part? Although each and every song on Barriers sounds different than the last, they all flow together thanks to their underlying themes of regret and hope.
Barriers is not only the first album that Frank Iero has written since 2016’s Parachutes, but it’s also the first album that he has written since a near-death experience in 2016. To say that the accident has changed Iero, his outlook on life and the music that he creates would be an understatement, and Barriers is a direct reflection of that. Emotionally raw and vulnerable, Barriers can be painfully honest at times, but that’s what makes it such a powerful release. That, coupled with fearless songwriting (which results in bangers like “Moto-Pop” and emotional tracks like “No Love” and “Six Feet Down Under”) makes Barriers Frank Iero’s most dynamic and exciting release to date.
LISTEN TO: “Fever Dream” “The Unfortunate” or “Moto-Pop”
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