IRON CHIC - You Can't Stay Here (CASS)
The ghost of Rob McAllister looms on You Can't Stay Here, as expected. The founding guitarist died last year, age 36, and while many wondered how Iron Chic would soldier on, this record shows just how. It's testament to the band's will, desire to succeed and of course, the innate sense of perseverance lingering in us all. More so, it's definitely them powering through life to make Rob proud, and they accomplish just that here.
A lot of fans waited on this since their last full-length in 2013 but as of Rob's death, this wait had a different meaning. Would it be a eulogy? A farewell? Would it even happen? Well, the answers to all these questions can be found on a record that sways from dark and depressing to one that shines with the sun, utterly triumphant and exactly what Rob would want it to be. It swings freely from songs of grief and despair, detailing all the stages of loss and depression, as it barrels into anger and then into optimism.
The upbeat shoutalong punk bangers like "A Headache With Pictures" to the swelling rock anthem "You Can't Stay Safe" are examples of the emotion and musical drive Iron Chic pack in here. Right what diehards would expect and if you're relatively new like me, right what you'd want in terms of accessibility. The melody gets warm as well from time to time ("Let's. Get. Dangerous") as if to remind you how many dimensions exist to a band that know how to swing for the fence with jagged riffs and huge, bouncy hooks.
Jason Lubrano's dark lyrics, and their delivery, deserve a very special mention as they fit so well with the peppy, starry-eyed rhythms on tap and to be honest, this duality, this overall contrast has a fizzy pop to it that personally surpasses the work I've heard from them prior to this. Side note: that artwork is so intriguing and honestly, while it feels devilish and metal, when you juxtapose it to the album, you're painted an even more unique picture.
There are so many singles and hits on this album that you can have it spinning for days on end from any point like me. There's no starting point or stopping block. It's just an intense and deep dive down the rabbit hole and as the gang-jam "Golgotha" reminds you, life is short so get out there, live it and enjoy it. The finer things, the louder things and yes, the things that punks dream of, fear and fight for. Iron Chic encourage you to soak it all in, if not for Rob, then at least for yourself. -Punknews (Renaldo69)