Ladies and gentlemen, mere mortals and er…aliens – it’s here! Yes, that’s right, Gerard Way is back with his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien. But if you’re thinking about buying this album, expecting to hear theatrical punk rock, a la My Chemical Romance, then you may be in for a shock. Go into this one with an open mind and you may just be rewarded.
The album, overall can only be described as zany. Like something out of a comic book. But we’d expect nothing less than that from Mr Way. From lead single, ‘Action Cat‘ to the Brit-pop fuelled ‘Millions‘, everything seems like a simple but colourful work of pop art.
Of course those slightly punk influences still remain, (and if you’re looking for that, then ‘Bureau‘, ‘No Shows‘ and ‘Juarez‘ may just be your cup of tea) but they aren’t as fundamental to the kind of sound that Gerard is clearing going for. Instead, he’s traded it in for a cool 80’s vibe as can be heard peppered throughout the entire album.
One of the highlights of the release has to be ‘Brother‘ which almost sounds as if Gerard’s been taking notes from the likes of David Bowie and The Killers, put his own quirky spin on it and come up with this glorious, nostalgic, jangly treat for your ears. If you love ‘Brother‘ be sure to give ‘Drugstore Perfume‘ the time is deserves too as it continues on that idea of nostalgia.
Another main influence on Hesitant Alien is brash, distorted indie rock which really shines through on ‘Zero Zero‘ and makes, also, for one of the album’s highlights. ‘Get The Gang Together‘ is another prime example of this, except this time, it’s accompanied by an incredible groove that makes it impossible to resist dancing to.
And if, by this point in time, you haven’t gathered that Gerard Way is the king of dealing out curveballs, then it’ll become blatantly obvious as soon as you listen to the penultimate track on the album – ‘How’s It Going To Be‘ which carries a peppy but slightly melancholy air. Not only that, but it features the most bizarre synth instrumental towards the end of the track. We told you he likes throwing curveballs at you!
Closing the album in style is the high octane singalong, ‘Maya The Psychic‘. This song features such a high energy and rowdy chorus that we simply cannot wait to hear this one live in November.
All in all, Hesitant Alien delivers everything that you’d expect from a new era in Gerard Way’s musical career. A new look, new influences and most of all, a brave new sound steeped in 80’s synths and backed up by 90’s Britpop. To say that this is a well rounded album, however, would be inaccurate. There is very little variation in tempo or atmosphere – nearly ever track on the release is completely supercharged. All we’re saying is, it’d be lovely to have a little breather in there. That being said, Hesitant Alien may just be a strong contender for our new favourite album.