Review Summary: What is almost a great album is ruined by a tendency to go too over the top with the gothy asthetic.
If you've read my Danger Days review, you'll know that I love MCR. I think all of their albums are at least worth listening to (even if I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love is a little on the too rough side) and this album is no exception. Its just a shame that it goes just a little too "emo" for lack of a better word. In true MCR style, Gerard Way (lead vocalist) and his backing back has created a violent and expressive picture with this album which works for a while, but towards the end of the album, it begins to become a bit too much for the listener to handle as we're hit with this deathly imagery over and over again.
But let us look at the actual songs. All the singles are great, Helena is a touching yet morbidly moving song about Gerard's grandmother passing away, I'm Not Okay is a great emopunk track that really picks the album up early on due to the drudgy plodding of the gothy sounds and Ghost of You is a haunting ballad about a dead lover, something that a lot of the songs have in common. One thing to mention with this album is that Gerard is at the top of his game here. Although he not as good as he will later become on The Black Parade, he gives it his all and delivers a punchy and sarcastic performance with some really touching moments. Everyone else does their job I guess but no one really stands out other than a few cool solos here and there and the occasional funky bassline or cool fill.
The best song on the album is probably Hang Em High, a westerny tribute that soon turns from a Clint Eastwood tribute into a full on heavy punk song. But the lyrics aren't great, and that's probably the biggest problem with the album. It does what it does and it does it very well but in the end, all the death and imagery of coffins, and things in black, and roses and whatnot makes it seem too Interview With a Vampirey. It sort of becomes a joke within itself and while the music itself works, the image gets a little hokey once you've been beaten with it for an hour. Luckily MCR would fix this by taking the dark imagery and channeling it into a concept album that is more easily invested in and more accessible due to the anthemic quality of the next album. But as it stands, this is a very good album, just not the best the band has to offer.