Album Review: Stomachaches – frnkiero and the cellabration

The album cover
The album cover

When Gerard Way announced his solo career after the breakup of My Chemical Romance in 2013, it came as no surprise to anyone when Frank Iero did the same. With the release of his new album Stomachaches and his new group (titled frnkiero and the cellabration), many were shocked to see how much the album differed not only from MCR’s style, but Way’s solo style. While Way’s album, entitled Hesitant Alien, borders more on Britpop, Iero’s Stomachaches is very clearly post-hardcore, and vastly different from the former band’s sound.  The beginning track, All I Want Is Nothing, starts with a bit of amp feedback and Iero’s voice saying ‘check, check, check’ before going into a catchy song with memorable drums. Although many may argue that Iero’s voice isn’t suited for singing, it fits well with the style and may just take a little getting used to. And acoustic, it sounds even better. The music is nowhere close to MCR’s polished sound, or Gerard’s dancey Britpop, but instead is the raw kind of music that just seems to fit with the right people. The second track, Weighted, was the first single, and one of only two songs to get a music video, and is the perfect combination of extra backup vocals, powerful riffs, and Iero’s trademark vocals that are, in a way, almost attractively scratchy. She’s the Prettiest Girl at the Party and She Can Prove it With a Solid Right Hook is the fourth track, written fondly about Iero’s wife Jamia, with whom he has three children. Joyriding, the second song with a video, has higher vocals and the muffled sound that Iero seems to favor. With heavier lyrics (‘I hate my weaknesses/they make me who I am’) and a chorus that proclaims ‘it’s cool to be okay’, the song is far from typical in today’s music- and that’s exactly what makes FIATC stand out. Stage 4 Fear of Trying was famously written about Iero’s visit to a circus, and is written about the trapeze artists. Where Do We Belong? Anywhere But Here closes the album with a more melancholic approach (‘I’ll never make it alone’).  The video for Joyriding is… strange, to say the least. The video features Frank and his backup band playing in a white room with white outfits and white instruments, but about halfway through the video, what one can only assume is blood starts dripping everywhere, matching the post-hardcore vibe to the song. And at the very end, Iero, covered in blood, folds his hands on the mic and gives us that famously adorable smile that we know and love. Keep smiling, Frank. Your solo music is exactly what this genre needs.

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