“Don’t leave me here, where my fears / Consume my thoughts, of what was
/ And what could have been, it’s a sin”
Frank Iero has released a lot of music through a lot of different projects, all with different sounds, but with one ever-present theme: Iero pours everything he has into each record. Barriers is no different. His third solo album confronts his loves and losses, his fears and insecurities, and his future head on.
“A New Day’s Coming” welcomes us into the next chapter with an anthem destined to be sung at shows with lighters (or phones) held high. What follows is an exploration of life in all its glory and all its chaos. “Basement Eyes” says goodbye to the past and the expectations that come with who you were before, telling you: “If you wanna believe in something / It’s that nothing lasts forever / If you wanna fight for something, start a war”. Every layer of the song is cathartic, from the lyrics to its guttural bass to the explosive chorus you just want to scream out.
Barriers is one of those albums you hit play and disappear into. You can find the words you need to hear most or you can simply close your eyes and let the music take over. These kind of records are important—they deal with the good and the bad and send the message that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. Barriers is complex, messy, and, above all, therapeutic. What better way is there to face your demons than with someone who’s been through dark times and is armed with a guitar and a mic?
Tracks like “Moto-Pop” crank it up to eleven—the guitars lead the charge and the beat will leave you breathless. “Six Feet Down Under” is a spoken-word letter questioning Iero’s own mortality and his very reality. You can’t help but be reminded of the serious crash his band was involved in on their 2016 Australian tour. They were all lucky to survive but their brush with death is a clear impetus on this record. Iero’s reflection will make you look inwards and make some changes too.
It might take you a few spins to fully dig into each track as they hit you hard and fast—Barriers is an album that requires time to unpack it—but that’s wholly refreshing in the era of singles. And Iero has saved the best for last with “24k Lush”. This deeply introspective song pulls at you like the tide—you’ll feel the waves of emotion hit you, the words will get under your skin, and then the guitars will sweep you away. “One more night in solitude / Removed from everyone / Even though I wanted to / I never had much fun,” the song begins, before transforming into a promise of love and hope for redemption: “Would you wait for me / As I long for you?” With “24k Lush” Iero brings Barriers full circle to leave you completely drained from the album’s intensity but still ready to hit play all over again—because you’ll know, deep in your heart, a new day’s coming…
Buy it, Skip it, or Stream it?: Buy it and head on a journey to face your demons with Frank Iero and the Future Violents.