The difference here on album number three – Barriers, under the guise of Frank Iero And The Future Violents – however, is that these poignant observations and questions have not only never sounded so prominent; they’ve also never felt more real. The first new music since he and his former bandmates in The Patience were involved in a terrifying bus crash in Sydney, Australia, Frank’s 2016 near-death experience has informed much of the content of Barriers, both literally and metaphorically. Though it was born from life-changing events, however, that fateful day Down Under is never allowed to define it.
This is largely thanks to just how interesting each of the 14 songs here sound. Joining forces with guitarist and long-time musical partner-in-crime Evan Nestor, plus bassist Matt Armstrong, drummer Tucker Rule, and Kayleigh Goldsworthy on piano, organ and violin, Barriers is the result of Frank’s decade-plus vision of working within this exact line-up coming to fruition. From gorgeous opening lullaby A New Day’s Coming – the chorus of which the frontman would sing to his children when putting them to bed each night – through to the startling doom metal riffs of the excellently-titled Medicine Square Garden, Frank Iero And The Future Violents are as ambitious as they are utterly exhilarating. There’s the heartfelt sing-along of Great Party, the brooding, ominous Six Feet Down Under (the record’s clearest nod to the crash), the effortless swagger of album highlight Moto-Pop, the frenzied Fever Dream and the emphatic sing-along of closer 24k Lush. That no single song sticks to any one genre for more than half a minute or so makes this record a real challenge to pin down, and means that Frank and co successfully manage to offer up something new with each and every listen.
Deliberately disordered and yet so evidently crafted with total precision, Barriers doesn’t so much live up to its title as it does completely go against and destroy everything that very word symbolises. It’s brilliant.