As the Black Parade marches into the sunset, taking all the bad press it gained in the UK with it, My Chemical Romance return with their first collection of new material since 2006. This time around the emo rockers trade their dark uniforms for vibrant colours and futuristic alter egos.
Whatever your opinion of them, you have to admire the way they’ve won over their dedicated fan base. From their second album onwards, they have cleverly managed to tick a different box relating to their target demographic: emotional teens. ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ tackled broken heart syndrome, ‘The Black Parade’ handled the ‘cool to be different’ phase and with their latest, ‘Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’ they’ve done it again, adopting larger-than-life post-apocalyptic outlaw personas. What emotion-ridden teen doesn’t have a taste for the theatrical?
The running conceit of the album is that the band are the Fabulous Killjoys, a group of vigilantes living on the edge of a dystopian city run into the ground by the sinister Better Living Industries. But let’s forget about that for now, because apart from some fighting-talk lyrics and a radio transmission (with Mindless Self Indulgences’ Steve Montano voicing DJ Dr Death Defying) tuning in every now and then between tracks, it has little impact on the album as a whole.
Debut single ‘Na Na Na’ kicks things off, setting a tone which, despite it’s gimmicky title, shifts away from pop slightly and aims closer to the their punk rock roots. However this doesn’t last long, ‘Danger Days’ is an uneven mix of dance floor boppers and emo rock ballads with a brief scattering of pop-punk fun for good measure. Going from one extreme to the other, the album feels a little disjointed and as such, never seems to find its voice.
Slower tracks like ‘S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W’ and ‘The Kids From Yesterday’ are guaranteed to get the crowd swaying at future gigs, but more mainstream rock songs like ‘Bulletproof Heart’ and ‘Summertime’ are a little on the forgettable side. The fast paced punk of ‘Save Yourself I’ll Hold Them Back’ (again relating to the outlaw theme) and ‘Party Poison’, are more exciting, both trying valiantly to win the listener back, (with the latter being the albums standout track) but sadly it’s just not enough. Maybe it’s time for the Killjoys to hit the road once again.