Sometimes in a review you just have to get to the punchline straight away. So here it is: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, the second album by New Jersey quintet My Chemical Romance, is the bonafide business. Full-stop. Period. Thank you very much.
“What? Who? Why?” I hear you ask. The album that’ll make you take all those fey emo records you own and bin them along with the hair-gel, that’s what, made by a bunch of night-loving, comic book inspired reprobates, with a cauldron-ful of blistering tunes that are suffused with the blitzkrieg pop appeal of The Ramones, the anthemic qualities of Funeral For A Friend and a mosh of the head in the direction of fellow black eyeliner-ed metal types Avenged Sevenfold.
Three Cheers… sounds like an album drunk on life, an unholy racket that you could imagine being made by AFI if they woke up one day and decided that they liked The Darkness. There’s nothing weak here, either in volume or in quality, and even if there was, it’s all executed with such a degree of knowing cool – from the song titles (You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison), to the Ramones’ signature “Let’s Go!” in It’s Not A Fashion Statement, It’s A Deathwish, to the Bach-mimicking guitar solo in To The End – that you suspect you’d forgive them anyway.
Highlights? Or rather, given MCR’s penchant for B-movies and bats, lowlights? They’d be the big brashness of Helena; the sneering vocal of Give ‘Em Hell Kid that doesn’t succeed in distracting from Gerard Way’s mighty fine singing voice; the simply Everest-sized choruses of I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and Thank You For The Venom (the former boasting the fantabulous line, “I’m not o-f**king-kay!”); the suitably haunting power of The Ghost Of You; the crunch of The Jetset Life Is Gonna Kill You; the shock of the acoustic Interlude; the cowboy film whistling intro to the raucous Hang ‘Em High; the metal party punk of Cemetery Drive; and the this-is-what-emo-would-be-like-if-it-was-any-good lesson that is I Never Told You What I Do For A Living.
Hang on, we’ve mentioned every song. ‘Nuff said.
Given that Three Cheers… is supposed to be a vague concept album about a chap who returns from the dead to woo the woman he loves, there’s an amazing ebullience and joie de vie about it all. It’s even more surprising when you consider that vocalist Gerard Way suffers from depression and alcoholism, and thanks two of his therapists in the sleeve notes.
Still, as he puts it in Cemetery Drive: “Singing songs that make you slit your wrist – it isn’t that much fun.” Nope, it ain’t, but listening to this lucky set of 13 songs certainly is.