Iron Chic’s anthemic third album, “You Can’t Stay Here,” explodes into color with lyrics firmly stippled in grayscale.
Long Island’s Iron Chic has been churning out anthemic pensive “pop-punk” for the last ten years after the demise of hugely influential punk band Latterman (which would also birth the fantastic Rvivr). Following two phenomenal albums through Bridge Nine Records, the Iron Chic camp went rather silent in 2015 after the departure of founding guitarist Rob McAllister who unexpectedly passed away about 6 months after splitting ways, leaving the future of the band up in the air. About a month later, Iron Chic broke their silence and announced they had joined punk powerhouse SideOneDummy with a record release announcement coming a few months after that. Expectations were very much up for the record, but nobody knew what it was going to sound like following all the stress the band had been through.
The album begins remarkably upbeat with “A Headache With Pictures”—we see Iron Chic not having lost a step. Musically, the bulk of the track maintains the melodic-punk passages we have come to expect. With thematically adult lyrics that explore bleak nihilism through the gruff voice of singer Phil Zambrano, the themes are best encapsulated in the lyrics to the bridge of the first track which set the pace of what this album is all about: ‘Now I know / How loneliness feels, so I’m ready to go / Just fucking trying to live and I’m taking it slow / It ain’t heavy, it ain’t heaven.’
The album chugs along with sing-along worthy standouts like “My Best Friend (Is a Nihilist),” “Lets. Get. Dangerous,” and “Planes, Chest Pains and Automobiles.” There is a track between these called “You Can’t Stay Safe” that kind of comes off as an idea that they couldn’t correctly draw out as a full-song. It features some emotive harmony vocals that would’ve really been more striking had they further expanded on the track. The song features a departure from the upbeat 4/4 anthems the first half of the album provides; however, this respite is once again revisited in the phenomenal track that is “Ruinous Calamity” which sees them dialing it down to acoustic guitar dynamics that swell into a group chant vocal. It’s a well-thought-out track that really does an excellent job of wrapping up the themes of the album before busting into the album closer “To Shreds, You Say?.” It’s an upbeat song that explores the fleeting and overall unguaranteed nature of relationships and life itself. There is no olive branch of happiness, just a declaration of bleakness; a feeling best caught in the final line of the song: “l could have stayed there forever, but all things come to an end.”