My Iron Lung - Learn To Leave (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

My Iron Lung

Learn To Leave (2016)

Pure Noise

When it comes to ‘The Wave’, people usually have tongue-in-cheek stabs as they ask if it's still around. Or question why they ever liked them in the first place. However, that's not the majority as quite a few still connect with what the likes of La Dispute and more so, post-hardcore/screamo acts like Touché Amoré or Pianos Become The Teeth did. The latter two evolved their sound since the harsher days but still maintain that visceral edge along with the lesser-knowns such as The Saddest Landscape, the defunct Troubled Coast and Departures, to name a few. It's in this niche that My Iron Lung resides. The underdogs built on relentless screamo, ferocious instrumentation and an anger that 2014's Relief painted as something you needed to experience. Learn To Leave finds their stories in a darker place but music-wise, there's much more breathing room and a spaced out ambiance that sprawls with more melody than first anticipated. It feels like they harnessing their strengths well and finding their voice, stepping up from an already decent EP on Grief. 

"Certainty" and "Damage" are prime examples of this. Matt Fitzgerald's screams ride the aggressive riffs so well but it's when they slow the tempo down that you truly feel their message. Full of energy, intensity and passion, they've grown a lot with more rhythms and harmonies worked into the guitars. The same's said for the self-titled track that shows just how much of a driving force Fitzgerald is. In contrast, "Anchorage" finds the band tempering down things a bit too much that unravels like the raspy pop-punk you'd associate with a few other Pure Noise bands. It's not a bad change of pace but it feels odd after knowing what their past entails. Not digressing too much, the darkness/shoegaze/bass on "Somnium" is right where the La Dispute comparison comes in. Musically that is until the lyrics kick in, leaving you wondering if it's Jeremy Bolm on the mic. In terms of mixing all the elements of their sound, "Mend" though is the track that you'll want to look at that reels everything in. The rawness. The pained expression on the mic. The start/stop riffage. The PBTT instrumentals over the Bolm-esque lyrics. So dynamic. All this adds character to My Iron Lung. Carving out their identity while paying homage to their influences. Let it be known that they get the mix just right. Originality while delicately balancing how they copy the wave that's subsided. For now. A great album to explore from a band that leaves it all out there and lays everything on the line.