EP Review: Frank Iero and The Patience - ‘Keep The Coffins Coming’
Frank Iero is truly a force to be reckoned with. The musician has been on the punk rock scene for seemingly his entire life (which is a feat in and of itself). Iero began his musical journey with raw and emotional Pencey Prep in the early 2000s before being recruited by My Chemical Romance as a second guitarist. He released four monstrous studio albums with MCR before the inevitable end of the run in 2013. All in the throes of this, he fronted hardcore band Leathermouth, which managed to shred plenty of faces in and around the New York / New Jersey area for about three short years. He’s also dabbled in industrial hardcore with his project Death Spells, alongside James Dewees of The Get Up Kids and Reggie and the Full Effect.
Needless to say, Iero dips his toe in whatever suits his fancy at the time, so it was only natural for him to establish Frank Iero and the Patience in 2012, a shambolic and noisy punk rock outfit that has managed to separate itself from the emo undertones of Iero’s previous projects. They’ve released Stomachaches and Parachutes respectively since their beginning. The project has a little more bite and a lot more heart. Especially so on the band’s most recent EP, Keep The Coffins Coming. Recorded with Steve Albini, it’s the “missing link” between 2014′s Stomachaches and 2016′s Parachutes.
It starts off with “I’m A Mess” which occupied the track listing of last release Parachutes. The song puts all insecurities under a microscope and celebrates them energetically – it’s an elaborate and jarring introduction to an equally spooky and fun EP. It begins with some beautiful feedback before punching you square in the face with a punk riff and an addictive melody. It’s not far off from the Parachutes recording, but it certainly has a more stripped down element that is immediately noticeable in contrast.
“BFF” was written with Iero’s kids. Hardcore fans have heard it before (and probably seen the video). It’s cute and well-meaning but I have two differing opinions on the track that I can’t pin down. The sentiment makes you want to sigh aloud because it’s adorable. On the other hand, it feels out of place on an EP that gives off a “spooky” and haunting vibe. It would have been better suited as a b-side, but it’s understandable why The Patience went with “BFF” as the second track – it buffers the zone between “I’m A Mess” and the punk rock party that is “No Fun Club.”
Wow. What can I say about “No Fun Club” that won’t be said by every other rock critic in the realm? It’s so good. This track is absolutely badass. As someone who has closely monitored Iero and his musical career since the MCR years, “No Fun Club” captures exactly what he’s been all about sonically for so long. It’s a quick-witted and spunky punk track that pulls you in and then pushes you out the backdoor and right on your back. If I don’t see fans annihilating each other to this song in a live setting, I’m gonna be disappointed. It begs for a good pit. This song is the climax to the EP, and it strikes me as the epicenter of a release that screams to be, well, screamed.
Last but not least is the closer “You Are My Sunshine” which is a song so old that it’s tough to credit to the original writer. It rocks and rolls in it’s own way and it’s as dreary as it is magical. The harshness of the guitars work so well here, and it’s a joy to listen to. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness it performed live, and it was just as intricate and well done in this setting as this track is in studio. I had my fingers crossed that it would eventually be recorded in a studio setting, so I was psyched to see it as part of the track listing for Keep The Coffins Coming. It promises soothing rock, and it delivers.
The artwork for this release sets a Halloween vibe, and the music itself carries it over. Keep the Coffins Coming is a beautiful selection of some of the band’s favorite back alley traits, from the highs of punk melancholy to the lows of slower and more lullaby-esque pieces. It’s a great introduction to Frank Iero and The Patience, but it’s also a much needed mainstay for the fan listener. I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t familiar with the band and it’s bound to be an adored addition to an already massive discography for Iero.
Keep The Coffins Coming drops on September 22nd via BMG / Vagrant Records.