Iron Chic - The Constant One (Cover Artwork)

Iron Chic

Iron Chic: The Constant OneThe Constant One (2013)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: matt_bmatt_b
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Chances are, unless you live in a reality where progress is calculated against the most insignificant of measures and prudent foresight does not exist, you've probably experienced the disparaging effects of a soul discontent. Don't get me wrong ?? I take pride in accomplishing menial tasks, such as getting to work on time, or biting my tongue when arrogant prick assholes make arrogant prick comments. You know, the small shit we're all trained to endure and passively ignore (or accept). What I'm referring to is life's dark matter: the goals, dreams and passions that inspire us to get up in the morning. Consequently, it's often those same intangibles that wake me up in the middle of the night trembling in a pool of cold sweat. Or would, if it weren't for the copious amount of alcohol preventing consciousness, and, inadvertently, my midnight mental meltdown.

Iron Chic know something about meltdowns. Since 2008, they've been singing the songs of our insipid, derivative existential crises: mid-tempo, melodic and full of enough whoa-ohs and sing-alongs you'd swear emotional instability was cause for celebration. Their music is a jaunting exercise that either leaves you feeling totally rested, or completely restless. For the casual punk, Iron Chic's music is another opportunity to lose yourself in a crowd of friends and strangers as they toss you around a room, everyone screaming at the top of their lungs as the climax erupts and descends. At that moment, you think, everything in the world is right. But after the basement empties, and the beer runs dry, and all your friends go home, where does that leave you? Alone, in your room, hiding from masochistic thoughts, forced to confront your present reality, and try to reconcile with the one you wish it to be. And that, my friend, is some scary shit.

On The Constant One, the sophomore follow-up to Not Like This, Iron Chic continue to craft catchy, indie-inspired, emotive punk contrived to relieve, or at least alleviate, the pressure applied by our contemptuous minds. The musical framework is left largely unchanged from their past work, much to their conceit. Guitars play high-end distorted pop while drums focus on channeling energy from individual to group, typically achieved with a fair amount of sing-alongs and emotional build. Similar to their other output, The Constant One maintains a certain level of continuity by transitioning songs one after another through the use of guitar feedback, ostensibly unrelated audio samples, and, in one instance, 8-bit. This laissez-faire approach is effective because it doesn't detract from Iron Chic's art: the message in the medium. Addressing themes as diverse and interconnected as temporality, friendship, perseverance and community in a familiar context allow for therapeutic reexamination of how these ideas operate within our own lives. In a sense, it's like having a therapist on call for those requisite sessions conflagrating whatever demons ?? past, present or future ?? are haunting you now.

Front man Jason Lubrano's lyrics speak to the human condition. With a gruff, effortless delivery, his words encapsulate the totality of an experience without relying on citing people or events directly, ultimately instilling a ubiquitous quality that doesn't placate vague interpretations. On the candid, though self-conscious, "Wolf Dix Rd," Lubrano admits some pieces of his life are missing ("I'm going to think real hard about what I'm going to say/ I couldn't really stand you thinking any less of me"), but irreverently rejects the supposition that he can't still put it all together ("What was the question? I don't know/ I wasn't paying attention/ You say I'm lacking direction/ I'm going to find out on my own"). Even when doubt and uncertainty manifest internally, as in the slow burning "(Castle) Numbskull" (one of two songs featuring vocals by RVIVR's Erica Freas), Lubrano employs the same tenacious attitude; "Now look how it fucking stings/ it only hurts when I laugh/ and I do what I can until it tears me in half."

But Iron Chic aren't simply meditating on the daily struggles we confront and attempt, often unsuccessfully, to mitigate. Rather, they're offering working knowledge on how to manage these episodes. By conveying a perverse sense of resignation, The Constant One makes otherwise crippling realizations, and their remedies, palatable. "Things get weird. Just have to deal with it," Lubrano concedes on "Sounds Like A Pretty Brutal Murder," before advancing his antidote: "Unwind/ get high/ say ??fuck the world' and we're done with that/ Maybe then we can relax." He isn't suggesting instrumental apathy; he's prescribing metaphysical liberation. And if that isn't enough, Lubrano turns phrases with untritely authority, asserting life lessons with the resounding wisdom of a Buddhist monk, not an aging punk. On temporality: "If I know one thing it's how to waste my time/ And if you taught me anything, it's not to waste my life" ("True Miserable Experience"). On perseverance: "Keep getting nowhere/ over and over/ I know when I get there/ I'll be another day older/ Maybe get a bit closer/ this time" ("Don't Drive Angry").

Despite the litany of causal advice, a singular message echoes throughout: you are not alone. The Constant One, as a sentiment, is a statement on the cyclical nature of our humanity; as a commentary, it attempts to diffuse the fears and anxieties, the failures and disappointments that perpetually threaten to debilitate us. And the conclusion: it's all bullshit. The human condition is greater than the sum of its experiences. As Lubrano reminds us, "We're here alive/ there's still time to fuck up now." I don't know a more life affirming, reckless and comforting disposition.


People who liked this also liked:
Iron Chic - Not Like ThisBanner Pilot - Heart Beats PacificRed City Radio - TitlesThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Lawrence Arms - MetropoleThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!A Wilhelm Scream - PartycrasherDear Landlord - Dream HomesThe Flatliners - CavalcadeDead To Me - Moscow Penny Ante

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
donovanjames (December 5, 2013)

Dillinger 4 meets Latterman with some Fucked Up in there.

NightsWasted (November 27, 2013)

Amazing. Almost as good as Not Like This. Deserved to have been on the best new music tab. Whats up with that?

anytime (November 26, 2013)

Crappy blink 182 mall punk band.

llama (November 24, 2013)

This album is so good. So good. I can't stop listening to the thing. Great review as well.

mouseteeth (November 19, 2013)

Every song kinda sounds the same. I hope it grows on me.

davebrave4 (November 14, 2013)

Better question: why isn't the new FOTL in the best new music section? STEP UP, PUNKNEWS!

TibbsTastic (November 14, 2013)

Why has this not been included in the 'Best new Music' section?

theproblemwithfire (November 13, 2013)

"Got about five tracks into this and turned it off. Bland beardcore punk."


ak3punk (November 12, 2013)

Incredible. Amazing album. It's only been a week but this album has grown on me a ton.

sadastronaut (November 12, 2013)

Awesome album. Not Partycrasher-level of awesomeness but rad nonetheless. It'll probably sneak into my top 5 for the year.

MN_DrNick (November 11, 2013)

Pope, aren't you supposed to be in your room crying about Jeselnik's show being cancelled?

thepopeofchili-town (November 11, 2013)

"Got about five tracks into this and turned it off. Bland beardcore punk."


bertpokerface (November 10, 2013)

Been listening to this album every day for a week now and will continue doing so. Brilliant beardcore punk.

EchosMyron (November 8, 2013)

Got about five tracks into this and turned it off. Bland beardcore punk.

tbrow (November 8, 2013)

Easily top 10 of 2013

mattbeall (November 8, 2013)

Hey, that was a well written review. Nice job.

This thing is probably record of the year, for me. Holy shit, is it good.

slymer (November 8, 2013)

it's the shit! as expected

MN_DrNick (November 8, 2013)

Fuck.... this might be my album of the year.

fattony (November 7, 2013)

I've been listening to this on repeat all day. It was great on first listen and gets better and better the more I listen to it.

BarleyPat (November 7, 2013)

Forgot to rate!

floggingmicah (November 7, 2013)

I love this shit. This band is so good.

jerseymes (November 7, 2013)

the only thing keeping this album from being a full 5 stars is that, my finger slipped when I was pressing them. great review too

BarleyPat (November 7, 2013)

Yep, album of the year, right here. Game over.

telegraphrocks (November 7, 2013)


kylefromthesky (November 7, 2013)

That was a really well-written review for a really well-written album.

LiveFastDiarrhea (November 7, 2013)

It's a winner for sure. They just keep getting better

eggface (November 7, 2013)

excellent - some really stand out tracks. I do prefer the faster tracks, but the slow(er) one's do grow.

Baz (November 7, 2013)

yeah this pretty much rules as much as i hoped it would. and its getting better and better by the spin. tunes

joemomma420666 (November 7, 2013)

First listen didn't blow me away like everything else they've ever done...but its grown on me a lot in subsequent spins. Plus, how can you not love an album with not one, but TWO songs named after classic DC comics?

ak3punk (November 7, 2013)

Only plowed through one listen, it didn't win me over instantly. But I know after multiple listens this will be one of my favorites of the year.

TibbsTastic (November 7, 2013)

Pre-ordered this one without any hesitation. Its right up there for record of the year for me, and looking at the records that have came out this year so far, thats a big statement! Fantastic record! 5/5

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