In the year and a half since the break up of My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero has kept himself busy. He’s collaborated with James Dewees (Reggie and the Full Effect, the Get Up Kids) on Death Spells, an electronica-tinged hardcore audio-visual project. He’s released a handful of new tracks under his own name, and even worked with his twin daughters on a song.
While struggling with health issues, Frank often found himself in his basement studio, channeling his emotions and thoughts into music as a distraction. And after a while, he discovered he’d created enough material to put out an album. So he did.
Stomachaches is his totally DIY solo project – he wrote all the lyrics and music, laid down the tracks, played guitar and bass and on one track, the drums. The songs range in mood from frenetic to brooding, and there’s a very intimate feel to the entire album.
Frank is no stranger to creating music; he’s been in bands since he was a teenager. But this is the first time he’s worked by himself, without the synergistic influences of other band members, and the result is nothing short of brilliant.
The music is gritty and deliberately rough, the whine of feedback and thrashed guitar riffs, coupled with a thrumming bass line and crashing drums. Given that Frank has stated that he started with the bass guitar on most of these songs, it’s no surprise that the bass is especially noticeable on most of the tracks. The album stays true to Frank’s New Jersey hardcore roots, fast and angry, with vocals layered under the music, all of it raw and sharp-edged.
The lyrics are scraped nerves and blood, intensely personal and self-reflective. From struggling with relationships (“I’ve spent my life getting in my own way. so I could use something good, I really need this to work out” from She’s the Prettiest Girl at the Party, and She Can Prove it with a Solid Right Hook) to self-doubt (“Love won’t save me from myself” from Smoke Rings) to searching for your place in the world (“So I don’t know why it took so long to get back home. I’ve traveled all these miles just to get back home” from Stage 4 Fear of Trying), the words ring with a clarity that’s unflinching and true. It’s slam poetry for punks, and the words cut deep.
The album holds together beautifully, evoking empty Jersey parking lots and chain link fences, flowers growing between the cracks of sidewalks and the faint sound of laughter. Under the self-depreciation is surprising strength and the joy of finally finding your way home.
Standout tracks: Stage 4 Fear of Trying, All I Want Is Nothing
12 tracks, 37:26
Released August 25, 2014
Frnkiero andthe Cellabration will be doing a few headlining shows before hitting the road with the Used and Taking Back Sunday until October. In November, they will be touring the UK in support of Mallory Knox. Frank has recruited Evan Nestor (guitar), Rob Hughes (bass and Matt Olsen (drums) to play with him on tour.
by cardiac_in_overdrive (@cardiac_ovrdrv)