Frank Iero and the Future Violents, Barriers (UNFD, 2019)

Frank Iero’s new album, Barriers, packs a deeply moving emotional journey through somewhat open-ended transformation.

Out May 31 on UNFD under the name Frank Iero and the Future Violents, the sonically sprawling record definitely feels like one of the most immersive musical experiences Iero has been a part of recently to the point of feeling like a jarring form of “cinematic punk” from a bird’s-eye view.

He and his collaborators have dialed their ambition majorly up, expanding their craft upward and outward and providing for a volley of pit-stops up and down a figurative but still treacherous emotional mountain.

It feels rare that a musician can pull off sharing the lines “there’s a new day coming” and “just when you thought it can’t get worse, always it does” in the same album, but those are both quotes from Barriers, symbolizing just how far Iero and his newest bandmates have gone to do justice to the scope of their ambition. 

Besides Iero himself, Frank Iero and the Future Violents includes the talents of longtime collaborator (and brother-in-law to Iero) Evan Nestor, who’s on guitar, alongside bassist Matt Armstrong, drummer Tucker Rule — who’s a part of the high-profile post-hardcore band Thursday — and multi-instrumentalist Kayleigh Goldsworthy, who contributes piano, organ, violin, and even occasional vocals. She features prominently on the album’s opener “A New Day’s Coming,” which feels like a punk-ed up hymn, of sorts. It’s a (comparatively) slow, careful track that apparently began as a composition Iero made for his kids. The song feels more like a blues song than the punk Iero is most known for, and it helps set Barriers’ directly urgent emotional tone. 

The speaker behind this album has clearly had enough of beating around the bush, feeling ready to press on no matter what’s jutting out into and blocking the path. The band sound like they wanted to incorporate even the most fleeting nuances along the way of coming face-to-face with the limits of human life, and the result of their work is a clearly remarkable, flourishing portrait. Fittingly so considering it’s the first release following a serious near-death experience that Iero had while on tour in Australia, Barriers rather vividly sounds like the manifesto of someone ready to soberly sit down face-to-face with their “demons.”

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Tagged: frank iero and the future violents, my chemical romance