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My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys

Ben Patashnik
Ben Patashnik 19 November at 16.28
My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys Cover

Let's see the Daily Mail hijack this one...Rock Sound reviews the new MCR record!

Did anyone see this coming? The metamorphosis of MCR, one of very few bands who – like it or not – can legitimately be said to define a generation, from kings of darkness to comic book sprites seemed to take a lot of people by surprise, but it’s hardly surprising. Gerard Way has always considered himself a storyteller rather than a singer, and the ridiculous and slightly depressing media farrago around ‘The Black Parade’ meant the story they were trying to tell was completely passed over in favour of tabloid morons sensationalising a work of fiction and assuming the band were their creations. The point, effectively, was missed on a spectacular level. Hence the colours, the new sounds and the new story. There is no chance whatsoever of mistaking MCR for The Killjoys because they’ve cleverly constructed a fantasy world that, on the surface, steers clear of any controversial themes as a retro-futuristic Western of sorts (you can’t be mistaken for being pro-suicide when you’re dressed as a cowboy from 2019, right?). The band have done what they always wanted to do and disappeared into the music, and in some style – ‘Danger Days…’ fizzes with new sounds: drum machines, synths, thrashy punk rock guitars and electro-pop choruses abound, but nowhere do they lose sight of their vision. The electronic squirts and gurgles – and the pounding four-to-the-floor beat – that open ‘SING’ couldn’t be further removed from ‘Party Poison’’s razor-edged guitars or ‘Summertime’’s Cure-ish tinges, but Way’s full-throated delivery binds everything together with typical MCR gumption. Elsewhere, ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ steps into rock ballad territory while ‘Save Yourself, I’ll Hold Them Back’ is a snotty glam stomper and ‘Planetary (GO!)’ sounds like it was custom-built for the stadiums and festival PAs of the world; in short, they’ve pushed the boat out like never before, firmly closing the door on the past in the process. If MCR were your favourite band in the past it might feel like it’s going to take some steady reappraisal before you ink their new logo on your rough book. But don’t let the bells and whistles and synthesisers fool you – this is exactly the same band as before. Where ‘The Black Parade’ was their attempt to nail a grand concept by pushing themselves wholly in one direction (and almost burning out in the process, lest we forget) ‘Danger Days…’ simply sounds like they’re having way more fun than ever. Way’s boyish glee in spitting lines like “The emergency room’s got no vacancy!” (‘SING’) or “Do you care about the message or the rules they make? / I’ll find you when the sun goes black…” (‘The Kids From Yesterday’) is fuelled by the fact he now inhabits an invented world he can throw himself into without any fear of anyone mistaking him for a cult leader. And with that weight off his – and the band’s – shoulders MCR have made an album that is as fun as it is meaningful, as experimental as it is familiar. Let’s see the Daily Mail hijack this one…

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