Almost a year ago in November 2016 I reviewed Frank Iero and the Patience’s new (at the time) record, Parachutes. When I performed the essential reviewing mantra of listening, stopping, re-listening, and listening some more, I strived to make sense of the dramatic shift in sound between Frank Iero’s first record, Stomachaches, and the new material that he had put out. I was, and still am, impressed by both albums, but I was looking for some silhouette of a link between the two records. Now, Frank Iero has released that link into the world—and it’s Keep the Coffins Coming.
Keep the Coffins Coming is a short-yet-memorable four-track EP, and the third release by Frank Iero. The esteemed musician debuted his solo career under the name Frnkiero Andthe Cellabration, released his second album as Frank Iero and the Patience, and now, the name is stylized as Frank Iero & The Patients. In a recent interview with Alternative Press, Iero said “The band name will change every time…It’s a way to keep me interested, because I have such a short attention span on things.”
This EP, released on Friday, September 22nd, was put together between the end of Frank Iero’s Stomachaches tours and the recording of Parachutes. Keep the Coffins Coming was recorded during a spontaneous three-day trip to Chicago to fulfill a long-time aspiration of Iero—collaborating with musician and producer Steve Albini, who has worked with acts like Nirvana, The Breeders, and Pixies.
“I’m a Mess” kicks off Keep the Coffins Coming. This track also appeared on Parachutes and was one of the singles for the sophomore album—rightfully so. “I’m a Mess” is a manifesto of sorts for owning your issues. Iero sings Maybe I’m just lost they said / Maybe I’m just tired or dead inside / Something’s wrong with me / Maybe that’s just how I am… maybe I’m a mess and I ain’t gonna change in a manner that holds no room for arguments.
The next song on Keep the Coffins Coming is “BFF”—another tune familiar to Frank Iero fans. The original version of the bittersweet song was released in 2014 and featured Iero’s twin daughters singing on the chorus of the track and appearing balaclava-clad in the homemade video on YouTube.
The Keep the Coffins Coming version is just as bittersweet and haunting, but maybe just a little more painful without the presence of the ‘cute family project’ vibes. I just wish that I could take all of the pain from your eyes / ‘Cause things just don’t feel right when you’re not by my side / Best friends forever—but not now. “BFF” is one of my personal favorite Frank Iero songs. For something so seemingly simple, the song is complex and written so every note and word has its own purpose, making every measure important to the listening experience.
“No Fun Club” is a punch of a contrast to its predecessor on Keep the Coffins Coming. The track is brief in all its one-minute-thirty-three-second glory but makes its point as eloquently and punk as possible. And, surprise surprise, this isn’t the first time Frank Iero fans have heard this joyless song. Before Iero kickstarted his solo career, when he still played guitar for legendary pop-rock band My Chemical Romance, Iero posted a song to his SoundCloud account called “Xmas Sux.” At the time, Iero considered the song a joke, but it stuck with him since 2012 so he released it on Keep the Coffins Coming revamped with new lyrics and a new name.
The EP is closed with a cover of “You Are My Sunshine.” Albeit a seemingly odd choice for a punk artist, this track makes sense perfectly in the context of Keep the Coffins Coming. The cover is sung with Iero-esque emotion, with an Iero-esque guitar solo thrown in to end the EP.
New or casual fans of Frank Iero can appreciate Keep the Coffins Coming as a standalone art piece, while fans with knowledge of Iero’s more discreet work can appreciate this album as a thing of polished favorites. To me, this EP is simultaneously nostalgic and brand-new, and something I recommend to all music fans.