Iron Chic – You Can’t Stay Here (Sideonedummy, 2017)

Oh, Iron Chic, how I love thee. Welcome back, my much loved audio friends. Truly it is a rare thing these days for a band to consistently deliver material of a great standard, but Long Island’s Iron Chic somehow manage it. And that makes me a very happy human. Well, as happy as I get, anyways.

Happiness is obviously both a transient and mutable thing, though innit? Although these songs are undeniably hooky, sweaty basement anthems projected in an uplifting and rowdy manner, the subject matter is (as ever) by turns rueful and maudlin. But that’s like an accurate reflection of reality, mate. What we show on the surface all too often hides the inner darkness. Small wonder then, that I find new record You Can’t Stay Here so relatable. In order to avoid more of my self-indulgent navel gazing, skip to the end of the article, mate.

It seems like the older I get, the worse a place the world seems to be. Once you reach adulthood, you are peripherally aware of this, but as time passes, reality steadily seeps in. People you were convinced were good people turn out to be bad people. You start to wonder if you are a good person. You want to tell other people that you are a good person – but you aren’t the one that gets to make that judgement.

You form bonds, friendships and relationships. Many fade, more crumble, few stand the test of time. Friends and relatives sicken and die. Other friends and acquaintances meet untimely ends in entirely unfair ways. The people in power just seem to get worse and worse. The news makes for grimmer and grimmer reading day after day. You often wonder what the entire point of continuing is.

We have the choice as to whether or not we strive onwards in spite of the misery and adversity that is heaped on our doorsteps, day in, day out. If we strive on, how long have we got until we either buckle under the pressure or are taken out of the equation entirely by circumstances beyond our control. If we don’t strive onwards where does that leave us? Some of the answers to that question don’t bare thinking about.

What do I do? I go to work, and on the way I block out the bleak reality of the journey through the escapism of fiction. I get to work, and block out the grim reality of the workplace by listening to the music of those that I judge to feel like I do. And then, when I get home, I try to avoid leaving the house. The older I get, the more of a hermit / shut-in I risk becoming.

However, I like to think that if I could actually motivate myself to spend more time outside the relative safety and comfort of my little family unit, perhaps I’d find myself in some grotty venue or other, shouting along to sweaty basement anthems such as these. Losing myself in the catharsis of giving vent to my grief and ever present existential angst.

Perhaps what I’m trying to say is you don’t always get a chance to say goodbye. There’s no guarantee that there will be a next time. Distance doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle. Cherish your friends. These are the lessons that I’d urge people to take on board from my own experience and from this record.
Anyway, now I’ve got the maudlin bit out of the way, it’s safe to resume your reading. I’ve already stated that we’ve got a bucket load of sweaty, hooky basement anthems, here. If that in itself doesn’t sell you, or you’ve never heard of Iron Chic, you’ll want to know about the thick, textured, fuzzy, melodic guitar sound and the soul-searching lyrics. You’ll want to know how this fuses the indie rock might of Bakesale era Sebadoh with Jawbreaker’s most inspired moments of punk genius.

As Beach Slang named a record The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us a few years back. I’d class this as The Record I Listen to Reassure Myself That I’m Not the Only One to Feel Like This. It’s a class act, kiddiewinks.
Tony of Nurgle Rating: 9.5

Obviously, you should go and give this a listen yourself on the player below. Y’know, just so you can see how correct I am. Make up your own mind.

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night “punk room” at Jilly’s Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up – hopefully in the not too distant future.
Apart from that, it’s all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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