It’s been over a year and a half since the breakup of My Chemical Romance. Guitarist Frank Iero was first out of the gate with a solo album, the excellent Stomachaches. Now it’s vocalist Gerard Way’s turn to stand in the spotlight. Anyone expecting Gerard’s debut to sound like the punk-tinged rock stylings of My Chemical Romance will be surprised.
My Chemical Romance was the synergy of four musicians with diverse creative influences. This album is all Gerard Way; 90’s Britpop and 70’s glam, a dollop or two of rock ‘n’ roll blended and well-shaken, then buried under distorted guitars and effects pedals.
Hesitant Alien is an unabashed homage to Gerard’s biggest influences; he’s never been reluctant to talk about the impact that bands like Pulp and Blur, artists like Bowie and Morrissey, have made on him. He’s taken that love and inspiration and channeled it into this album, music that’s charmingly novel and nostalgic at the same time.
The album switches gears without hesitation, from the frenetic sounds of Action Cat to the thumping slow crescendo of The Bureau, and everything in between, including a high level of sass in Juarez. Gerard has talked about wanting to reintroduce guitars to the musical landscape, and the album is rife with them, fuzzy and warped. His voice is stripped down and buried under the instrumentation; there are no soaring vocals here.
Gerard has always had the ability to distill his experiences and memories into lyrics, and that hasn’t changed at all. There’s so many memorable lines (Been weeks I been living and your smiles are giving me all types of treble from No Shows, and Every accidental damage I wouldn’t take / Every heart I left behind that you couldn’t break from Action Cat) on this album, sublime and sharp, freeform poetry for music lovers.
The album is surprisingly cohesive in theme, and holds together even after multiple listens. It’s a new aesthetic for Gerard Way, bright and brassy, and it’s a joy to listen to.
Standout tracks: Juarez, Brother
11 tracks, 38:50
Released September 30, 2014
Gerard Way and the Hormones will be hitting the road in October for a handful of American dates before heading over to the UK in November. Gerard has recruited Ian Fowles (guitar), James Dewees (keyboards), Matt Gorney (bass), and Jarrod Alexander (drums) to rock with him on tour.
by cardiac_in_overdrive (@cardiac_ovrdrv)