Many My Chemical Romance enthusiasts were dubious when the former band’s front man Gerard Way announced his debut solo album. No one knew what to expect, as that group was the only thing Way could assumedly be associated with.
His anthemic voice is discernible to anyone who has ever heard ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ or ‘I’m Not Okay’, but the prospect of a solo career was generally regarded as improbable.
After Way’s debut, he can no longer be seen as the leader of the teenage emo kids, a stigma that he despised during MCR’s 12-year reign.
You witness a whole new side of Way that is so refreshing you’ll forget about the impromptu break up. To compare, the first track sounds like something Jack White might put out, which is nothing to scoff at. Ominous guitar riffs and pounding bass grab your attention and let you know that he has something to say, and he’s going to make you listen.
‘Drugstore Perfume’ has such a distinct 80s sound that it could be accompanied by Bowie himself. The first single off the album, ‘No Shows’, is an alt-rock ballad, but it’s not jaded in the slightest. It’s a magical blend of retro alternative and new rock, along with an ethereal sound that Way’s voice invokes.
Something to note is the straightforward approach of this album. Way isn’t putting on a production like The Black Parade or Danger Days; it isn’t a concept album, and this gives him much more freedom lyrically and instrumentally. In terms of accompaniment, it is delightfully divergent from that of MCR’s music.
This difference is pronounced in the guitars, which are modified through the use of fuzz pedals, as well as in the percussion, which isn’t quite as metal as that associated with MCR, but is equally as impressive.
As a whole, Hesitant Alien is a prodigious surprise that not only My Chemical Romance mourners will enjoy. It is a refreshing addition to the alternative scene, and breaks the Mumford and Sons alt/indie sound that is – without a doubt – getting a tad old.