Gerard Way: Hesitant Alien

Solo debut from My Chemical Romance man.

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Following The Black Parade’s 2006 dark concept album peak, My Chemical Romance seemed to expire more than end, their creative and career reasons for existing leaking out of them. Leader Gerard Way’s intelligent individuality, seen in his sideline as a comic-book writer at MCR’s height, has led him to Britpop and shoegazing as fanbase-challenging sources of renewal.

Intended to “sonically galvanise listeners”, this album is as absurdly in the red with ear-overloading fuzz as Oasis at their most cocaine-blitzed. It takes some adjustment to hear Way’s words at all in the initial sensory assault.

As songs do reveal themselves in the fuzzbox fog, Juarez gives a taste of more traditional heaviness. ‘I can’t swim/So plug it in/I’m a heavy metal master,’ Way plausibly claims, as he starts to scream, and the track ends the only way it can, in a pile-up of twisted instruments. The galloping 60s organ and mock-tough swagger of Get The Gang Together helps ends this extreme reinvention with a sensation of genuine renewal.

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).