Reviews Iron Chic You Can't Stay Here

Iron Chic

You Can't Stay Here

Iron Chic has its own kind of poetry. It’s not quite the Off With Their Heads level of self-hatred, but it’s highly self-deprecating to the point of feeling playful and overblown in its drama. Throughout the entire 11-song You Can’t Stay Here there are dozens of snippets I could grab to express this tone.

"I’m a stone, you’re a feather
Just leave me in the ground forever"

While the lyrics ride the self-wallowing tide, the album actually soars as listeners surf the waves. Uh, yeah, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I live in the Midwest. We don’t surf here. 

I’ve beaten that metaphor to the ground in earlier Iron Chic reviews, but the band uses chugging verses that build into powerful anthemic choruses, stemming from a whoa-oh mentality but without abusing that trope. It lets the emotion carry the song and the music itself feels cathartic, as it embraces life’s painful moments and repurposes the frustration. It doesn’t celebrate pain, but the resolve it requires to see it through. And that’s something people should be commended for. It’s extremely difficult.

Usually I break down a few standouts and pull examples to talk up the band’s sound. Instead I’ll focus this one of “Planes, Chest Pains, and Automobiles” in the middle of the record. It highlights what Iron Chic does best.

This song begins with a mid-tempo “it hurts like hell” tone, then builds. At about the 1-minute mark it pulls the full feeling together: things are bad; here’s how; we’re right here with you. At the same time, the melody merges into a sing-along chorus, connecting the two core elements. It rises and falls a bit between choruses, letting a moving build-up bring it all together again in a big release a minute later. It treads on rehashing familiar melodies throughout but bridges between those movements are subtle enough that it doesn’t get boring. It’s just predictable enough, and that ability to balance familiarity with engagement is what sets the band apart from many similar groups.

It’s followed immediately by “Golgotha,” which drops the tempo and tone back into a temporary lull at the start before the energy cycles through again. While individual songs aren’t repetitive to a fault, Iron Chic tends to stick to a similar key across all their work and that makes the 11 songs here sound fairly similar when listened to start-to-finish. It loses some energy when they slow down in “Ruinous Calamity,” and they show off their stuff when it bounces right back with “To Shreds, You Say?” That song closes the record, but carries that kick often saved for song number one on a release. 

You Can’t Stay Here gets on the wave and rides the momentum, maintaining a fairly even experience all the way through. At this point in their history as a band, it’s exactly what fans expect.

8.4 / 10Loren
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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8.4 / 10

8.4 / 10

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