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Album review: Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration - Stomachaches

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★★★★☆

Gerard Way isn’t the only member of My Chemical Romance to be indulging in their own musical side projects since the band’s end in 2013.

The band’s guitarist Frank Iero has been working on some music as well, and it’s origin is not from where you would expect.

stomachaches is the debut record from Iero’s new project Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration (yes, the grammatical errors in the project name are tortuous for me too).

The record was initiated from the terrible digestive problems Iero was suffering from in 2012. In a press release for the new record Iero revealed that he didn’t actually know he was writing a record, he just thought he was ‘dying’.

After turning his basement office into a makeshift studio in late 2012, he decided to go down there and ‘hammer out an idea’ whenever he felt the pain in his stomach, hence the title of the record. It’s common for people to write songs when they are in pain, but Frank’s method seems to be much more visceral than the average pain-filled album about a break-up and this really comes across in the tracks.

Iero plays every instrument on stomachaches apart from the drums; he got ex-MCR band mate Jarrod Alexander on board to do the honours there. The record definitely comes from the stomach, as Iero says about the songs, ‘they started inside me’ and quite literally as well. Iero’s deep gravelly vocals are reminiscent of early My Chemical Romance and even more so with the home-made rawness of the tracks. ‘Stitches’, reminds me of the early college demos you unearth from your favourite bands. But not in the way that you cringe with every out of tune guitar riff, it takes all the endearing elements and pairs it with Iero’s experience and mastery of his instruments. It is like he purposefully made this record sound raw, and it really works.

The record as a whole takes elements of Iero’s past with My Chemical Romance but alongside this, illuminates the parts of his personality that would have been muted during his time with the band.

The most obvious example of this being his prominent vocals. Without jumping the gun and pointing to influences, the grungy rawness of the record reminds me more of a Nirvana record than the theatrical glam-rock we know and love with MCR. What he has kept from MCR is the knack for a catchy hook. Amongst the punk-rock noise are awesome guitar riffs that keep you humming for hours after listening to the record. Take ‘neverenders.’ for example, it has the college-esque punk-rock shouting paired with a killer chorus, the best of both worlds so to speak.

It’s a promising start for life after My Chemical Romance for Iero. stomachaches was selected by Alternative Press as one of the ‘Most Anticipated of 2014’ and I can agree with this sentiment. Some great music has come out of the end of one era, and I am very much looking forward to Iero’s move into the next.




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