FrnkIero and The Cellabration
25 August 2014
Frank Iero is pissed off. Not because of the demise of My Chemical Romance, but because he has a stomach-ache. An all-encompassing, inescapable stomach-ache so beastly that it inspired an entire album. To take his mind off the pain of an increasingly painful digestive disorder, Iero retreated to his basement studio and composed music that was as jagged and raw as his internal discomfort.
What emerged was an album on which he plays every instrument except the drums, which are provided by his former My Chemical Romance (touring) bandmate, Jarrod Alexander. Lead single ‘weighted’ (the non-capitalisation is intentional, in case you’re wondering) is indicative of the album’s sparse production values and nod to scratchy garage punk, as is the gritty, fast-paced opening track ‘all i want is nothing’’.
It isn’t simply twelve tracks of crackly guitar-bashing. ‘she’s the prettiest girl at the party and she can prove it with a solid right hook’ sounds not only like description of my behaviour after a few too many Vodkas but a beautiful, lazily-slurred ballad. ‘joyriding’ is a delight, with a rich, double-tracked chorus that sounds like it was recorded inside a tin can (in this case, that’s a good thing). The chorus melody is slightly reminiscent of The Black Lips’ ‘Bad Kids’ but that only makes it all the more memorable. ‘stage 4 fear of trying’ is a sombre, melodic affair which sees him longingly slur about “all these hours, just to get back home”.
Longing turns to anger on ‘neverenders’, a satisfyingly loud and brash track that proves Iero can scream as well as he can sing. Despite the lyrical content on .stomachaches. being largely depressing, the melodies are rich and memorable, the double-tracked vocals provide a cushion of sonic fuzz to lose yourself in and Alexander’s frenetic and syncopated drums drive each track along.
Apart from exorcising his pain, Iero has also achieved something timeless here. Drawing on his punk roots, he’s created a record that could easily sit alongside the genre’s original purveyors such as Black Flag and The Misfits as well as modern punk outfits like Lovvers and Fucked Up. If .stomachaches. is a demonstration of what Iero’s capable of, he should get by just fine.
Sounds Like: The Distillers covering The Brian Jonestown Massacre with Frank Iero on vocals. And guitar. And bass…etc.
Standout Tracks: weighted, she’s the prettiest girl at the party and she can prove it with a solid right hook, neverenders