It’s been five years since My Chemical Romance took their final bows, and while fans may still be mourning the loss of the band as a whole, members of the beloved former-group are keeping the magic alive with individual side projects. While Gerard Way has launched a solo career and Mikey Way has been playing with his band Electric Century, former guitarist Frank Iero seems to have stolen the limelight with his project, Frank Iero and the Patience. With two records under their belt already, the quartet has been marking their territory in the punk rock universe. Now comes their latest release, a four-song EP titled Keep The Coffins Coming, which seems to be the bridge between the drastically different sounds of their first album, Stomachaches, and their sophomore release, Parachutes.
The EP starts with one soft strum of a guitar before taking off with a bang, pumping classic punk rock into your ears. The first song, “I’m a Mess,” is just that, but in the best sort of way: the song instantly clashes harsh guitar riffs with pounding drums and gravelly vocals, conjuring images of sweaty teenagers violently headbanging and cheering their hearts out in a tiny basement venue. “Maybe that’s how I am, maybe I’m a mess, and I ain’t gonna change,” rings out the chorus, creating an instant anthem for punk rockers and emo kids across the board.
The song “BFF” is a mellow tune reminiscent of bands like Sorority Noise, or Albini’s former client Nirvana, while “No Fun Club” is aggressive and striking, showcasing Iero’s writing style from MCR’s later works, specifically songs like “Na Na Na [Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na]” and “Party Poison.”
While Frank Iero and the Patience’s first album came off as rough and almost cluttered, their second release was a smooth, curated record with each song having a purpose and place in the track list. Keep the Coffins Coming comes as a branch between the two, providing the missing link that offers consistency to their sound. The EP was recorded with the legendary Steve Albini, known for working with bands like Nirvana and Pixies, and his influence is immediately recognizable. Each recording is clear and thought out. Every song has its own feel, its own passion in the lyrics and melodies. And yet there is still a ghost of an image of the band writing the songs in their garage, or going off the rails with improvisational guitar solos during a live performance.
The EP closes with a pulsing, melodic rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” that includes the lesser known verses that recontextualize the track as a somber song of loss. As the final notes play on, you can hear the clearer sophistication in their performance. In one short EP, Frank Iero and the Patience are able to showcase not only their range of genre but their dexterity in writing and performing as well. Keep The Coffins Coming is a fantastic look into their smooth, seasoned abilities as a band, while still offering the chance to see them go off the cuff. And what better time than now for some good ol’ head-banging, heart-throbbing punk-rock to carry us out of the final days of summer.
REVIEW BY ALEXA FRANKOVITCH