You Can’t Stay Here is the Long Island punk group’s first new album since 2013’s The Constant One, and addresses the same big questions that have plagued the band from their outset: anxiety, mortality, life, death, what it all means, etc. But this record became so much more after the unexpected loss of guitarist Rob McAllister in January 2016. You Can’t Stay Here transformed into a sort of coping mechanism for the bandmates; some of the tracks had even been written with McAllister, compounding the shared pain of his absence.
The themes of You Can’t Stay Here are undoubtedly dark, yes, but the externalization of them — casting them into light and setting them to a fierce, determined melody — is a cry for survival and perseverance. This album is a tribute to fortitude, not weakness. Iron Chic has been through one hell of a fucking year, but they’re still standing, and they made this record together.
The unrelenting first lines of My Best Friend (Is A Nihilist) paint a relatable picture of the ever-present anxiety that looms over everyday life for someone living, and grieving, with depression:
It’s hard to be a human being.
How can we when we’re not quite sure what being human means?
But what “My Best Friend (Is A Nihilist)” and this album do so well is portray how giving into those emotions can actually be a part of the healing process itself, often times igniting a progression of the human spirit entirely.
I’ve been asleep for half my life but I’m awake now,
I make mistakes and I make them loud.
I make them big so they shake the ground,
And now I’m making up for it.