Frank Iero And The Patience
It’s safe to say that many music fans around the world were crushed when My Chemical Romance broke up in 2013. It’s almost an objective fact that the music world would benefit from the band’s reunion; their record label and the band members’ incomes definitely would. However, until then, many fans find themselves deeply connected to the former-Black Parade’s side projects. And while Ray Toro, Mikey and Gerard Way have all been hard at work at their own musical endeavors, it is guitarist-turned-vocalist Frank Iero who steals the show.
Parachutes is Iero’s second full-length release as a front man after the dissolution of MCR. Accompanied this time by the backing band The Patience instead of The Cellebration (though I’m fairly certain these titles refer more to ironic mood swings rather than musicians), Parachutes reads like the cliché sophomore record without the sophomore slump as it shows both growth and progression without genre abandonment.
I find this record difficult to talk about in parts, it all blends together as one. Whereas Iero’s first record Stomachaches. felt jagged and sporadic, Parachutes is a highly cohesive work with a far more polished sound and production quality, which would make sense since Iero’s first record was recorded almost entirely by himself in his basement.
Opening with “World Destroyer,” the listener is immediately introduced to this more refined sound. Right off the bat there is way more dimension incorporated on this album than the prior one as it touches upon a more hipster rock meets noise band aesthetic. “I take my time/I can make things seem fine” echoes out as the most decipherable lyric on the track. Iero’s annunciation in music is always a little questionable, but while his words may be hard to understand at times, it is the sound behind the lines that tend to reflect the mood of the track regardless—a feat fairly few artists have mastered.
While many tracks on Parachutes hail back to Iero’s time in My Chem with tracks like “Remedy” and “Veins! Veins!! Veins!!!” harking out as if they were B-sides to 2002’s I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, other tracks delve deeper into the punk history spectrum. “I’ll Let You Down” feels more like a folksy take on a David Bowie track than a grimy punk jam and “They Wanted Darkness…” emotes that shoe gaze vibe without directly ripping off Morrissey. Even the more raw sounds on tracks like “I’m A Mess” can be traced back to the early days of The Misfits.
Parachutes brings out a maturity in Frank Iero that wasn’t necessarily prominent in his first full-length. While Stomachaches. was truly a remarkable record it stood out solely due to its raw throwback to DIY and basement punk. Parachutes, on the other hand, commercializes that attitude and sound without ever selling out its integral integrity. If there’s any down side to this record, it’s that it is very hard to separate into parts. Instead it works far better as one extended listen than a shuffle and replay album. In other words, there are no stand alone, stand out singles, just one outstanding record.