Its been almost five years since the demise of one of emo’s brightest and most enjoyable acts, My Chemical Romance, and its a specter that still haunts the collective scene as much as it does the band’s individual musicians. Examining the My Chem crew’s collective oeuvre, however, is getting more and more interesting with each passing release. The vast majority of that oeuvre, however, is due to the ever-expanding, ever-experimenting, continuously inspired Frank Iero.

In the space of less than a decade alone, Iero has managed to release records in genres sprawling the breadth of punk music, from arena-emo in My Chemical Romance, to dark hardcore with Leathermouth, to Ministry-esque brutality in Death Spells, and finally to straight ahead punk rock with his solo releases. That he’s a man of incredible talent and inspiration is absolutely assured and Parachutes confirms it.

Parachutes is a stellar listen, Iero’s swaggering vocals straining and coming off the rails to massive and glorious effect. This is straight-ahead punk rock with a rock-n-roll flair, and those soaring vocals that turn to strained screams add a heavy edge to the surprisingly soulful tunes.

Iero is at his best when he is teetering drunkenly on that line between melody and aggression. Where Leathermouth and Deathspells were great projects, they sometimes felt a bit constrained. Here, Iero has no such constraints, and he embraces this openness with welcoming arms and gets a much fuller sound as a result.

Through the songs like the one-two punch “I’ll Let You Down” and “Remedy” you can almost feel the jubilation. Despite the sometimes desperate lyrics, “I’ll Let You Down” ends with nigh-maniacal laughter, and that is indicative of so much of this record. Despite the depressing titles, the desperately screamed vocals, the feverish lyrics, the record somehow feels Just. So. Good.

My Chemical Romance might be gone, but their secret weapon is alive and well and Iero is still putting out some of the best music he ever has.

Check out my personal favorite, the acoustic rollicker “Miss Me.”:

Parachutes is now available via Vagrant Records.

More info:

Frank Iero and the Patience