Since their inception, Iron Chic have had a steady rotation through out the years through my speakers and a special place in my heart. Following their full length debut, I was ready to have another album. It's finally arrived in the form of The Constant One, and it does not disappoint. Any fan of this band are going to find exactly what they're looking for in this album. More catchy melodies attached to a new memorandum of heart wrenching lyrics, but does it live up to the bar that Not Like This set?
Iron Chic set you up with an instrumental opening track entitled, "The End," and then pounds right into, "Bogus Journey." It brought a tear to my eye to hear a song so positively in tune with this band. There was no denying this was Iron Chic. From Douglas and Mcallister's guitar tones to Lubrano's vocal melodies and lyrics. The following track, "(Castle) Numbskull," is a slower number in the same vein as, "(I Never Get) Winded" from their Shitty Rambo EP. Up next is, "Wolf Dix Rd," which would have been better suited as the album's closer than, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow." We'll get to that later though.
There's a massive change of momentum for the album when "Prototypes" begins. It's a speedy song that feels way out of place. It doesn't fit into the established pace and flow of the record. However, that doesn't change the fact that it's a great song, Lafler had been picking his moments to shine on this album and his drumming is on point during "Prototypes." The song blends into a re-recording of, "Spooky Action at a Distance." Most of the melodic intro was replaced with a new charming 8-bit rendition. Other than that, there's not much of a difference between the two recordings. There are few new accents here and there, but I'd say the cleaner sound of the EP version was finer. This version certainly fits the mold of The Constant One better though.
Things jump right back into classic Iron Chic on, "Sounds Like a Pretty Brutal Murder." The song was made to get people singing and dancing along, so press play and turn up the stereo. "A Serious House on a Serious Earth," lends its title to the tone of the song. The song has some of my favorite composition from Iron Chic and some of their best. It's got a steady slow tempo with intricateness and emotion. "True Miserable Experience" shares the same serious and personal tone found in the previous track. The band picks up the pace again on "Don't Drive Angry," which also has Erica Freas of RVIVR showing up for a bit to share vocal duties. The album closes with "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" It feels like a forced closer. It could just be me though. I feel "Wolf Dix Rd" would have been more satisfying and a more natural close to the album. The highlight of the track is the end as Lubrano repeats, "We all fall together. "
It's still hard to say if The Constant One is better than Iron Chic's debut full length, but it certainly gives it a run for its money. Regardless, it's a great addition to the Iron Chic catalog and should be owned by anyone that loves blasting music really loudly. It's loaded with tunefulness that's sure to please your ears and worthy of end-of-the-year "best of" lists. This band is slowly evolving and has such a great road ahead of them. I can't wait for more!
If ever a band was created for an epic singalong, it was Iron Chic. There’s that big feeling at the core of their soaring melodies as they build and rage, starting with a verse from Jason Lubrano and building to a gang singalong at the chorus in nearly every song. They’re songs that transcend the performers, taking on the personality and voice of an entire room.
The Constant One is just their second full-length after 2010’s Not Like This and a few 7”s. In that time the band has grown, become a bigger draw at Fest each year, and signed with Bridge Nine. All of that means that expectations are high for The Constant One and Iron Chic deliver as expected.
The new record doesn’t show much variation from their earlier work, drawing on the sound that has got them this far. As mentioned earlier, that relies on their soaring melodies and dual guitar interplay. It’s piled high with negative, self-aggressive lyrics that on paper bleed of anguish but are delivered in an uplifting hymn that picks up at each chorus, reclaimed as self-empowerment. They’re songs that intertwine and play, waiting for that big moment of stage-dives and holding the mic to the audience in cathartic singalong. Amazingly, it continues that pace over 11 songs without losing the emotion.
The key is in nuance and variation. The intro track is, well, an intro track, but other songs like “(Castle) Numbskull” and “Spooky Action at a Distance” mix things up nicely, peppering the familiar territory with tempo changes and some tonal blips to keep the listeners engaged. The hardest feat in melodic hardcore is writing songs that don’t all sound alike, and Iron Chic manages this well on The Constant One. While mixing it up, though, the band is ultimately graded on those soaring moments as in “Wolf Dix Rd.” and “True Miserable Experience,” which make some of the highlights. It’s music best suited for a loud environment and is best on a full sound system over headphones. While the songs are well varied from one to another, it would be nice to get a more variance in tone and even key over the course of 11 songs.
Lyrically there are snippets that pull at the core in several songs, from the misunderstood “you say I’m lacking in direction” of “Wolf Dix Rd.”—a song that has a bit of an Avail feel to me—to the call of “fuck the world when we’re done with it” in “Sounds Like a Pretty Brutal Murder.” They’re songs for the out-of-place youth and the frustrated employee; songs of celebrating one’s individual worth in a world hell-bent on denying it. Iron Chic’s power is in their ability to reach across the void, using their art to close the gap between the barrier and the floor.
8.8 / 10
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