Sound: My Chemical Romance has never exactly been a straightforward, "let's release an album, tour for it, and be done" sort of band. Even regardless of their ever-changing image (from the trashy look of "Bullets" to the Sgt Pepper-influenced style of "The Black Parade"), the band is one of the few who really give fans the bang for their buck. "Life On The Murder Scene", for example, included not only a documentary, but a handful of live performances, a couple "Making Of"s, and an accompanying disk. "The Black Parade" had a very neat deluxe edition, and their latest release, "Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys", also had an expansive deluxe edition, which included the "Mad Gear And Missile Kid" EP.
Fans were introduced to this leading up to the album's release, with guitarist Frank Iero stating that it is "basically what the Killjoys are listening to in the car as they're having those gun battles". The EP is splat in the middle of the "Danger Days" concept universe, depicted as a self-titled release by the fictitious rock band in 2019.
With the massive change in sound from 2006's "The Black Parade" to 2010's "Danger Days", I was extremely pleased that this EP brought even more diversity to the table. Where "Danger Days" has moments that range from glam to thrash to synth, "MG&MK" is strictly a sort of punk-thrash.
One thing this EP reminds me of is what singer Gerard Way said of the initial attempt at a follow up to "The Black Parade", which the band has been cited as saying they may very well still release. That is to say that this EP is stripped-down, dangerous, and while still dark, much less brooding than releases prior. Not to mention downright hard to fit into the linear discography. The entire extravaganza that was "Danger Days" questioned everything about the band, and challenged just about everything about them previously established. Even the fast-paced "My Way Home Is Through You" (a "Black Parade" b-side I was reminded of) wouldn't quite fit on this EP.
The difference, however, isn't at all to be frightened of. As with virtually every other genre they've touched, the band delivers masterfully with this EP. The energy is ablaze, the performance is stellar, and above all, this EP is fun. Both guitarists are at their best, Gerard is, as always, giving his all, and the drum work is excellent.
If there are any real problems I have with the presentation of this EP, one would be the exclusivity. You cannot find this album anywhere unless you cash in for the California 2019 Edition. Granted, this set also includes the album, a picture book (pardon?), beads (what?), and a ray gun. For the physical copy of this EP to be made available for four or five bucks would be just dandy. Alas, at no Amazon nor Walmart will you find it.
I'm also slightly perturbed at the length of the EP, which doesn't exceed six minutes and only includes three songs. By now, I've learned to expect an end, but the sound is engaging and fun enough for one or two songs more to have been a welcome edition. At the very least, a song which passes the two-and-a-half-minute mark. As the tracklist stands, two out of the three songs aren't even at two minutes. Great songs, mind, but the EP really is extremely short. Fun, but short-lived fun. // 8
Lyrics: As the album is set in a post-apocalyptic, "corporations are evil" sort of universes, there isn't much genius to be expected from the lyrics. Most of it is a lot of "Clockwork Orange"-esque banter, which works just fine. "F.T.W.W.W", an abbreviation of "F--k This Whole Wide World", is something about sex and robot chicks and anger or something, "Mastas Of Ravenkroft" is probably about laser guns and a chick, and "Black Dragon Fighting Society" is about drinking juice when you're killing, "'cuz it's f--king delicious".
Point is the band's taken a big leap into the fictional world, versus "Danger Days" having been a sort of commentary, with the fictional world being an excuse to speak up about politics from a band previously known more for addressing issues of the heart, if you will. The result is a devil-may-care blast of sound, which honestly suits the band more than a lot of the main release. // 8
Overall Impression: I'm very glad that the band has found footing after the explosion of "The Black Parade". There again, they found footing with that album after the explosion of "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge". Regardless, the band continues to deliver not only product, but fun and interesting product. Yes, "Danger Days" has commentary on corporate America and the like, which was a disappointing step. Yes, they try to hide it behind fiction. Yes, they essentially fail. But, at the very least, they brought some pretty solid music with them.
"Mad Gear And Missile Kid" is an extension of that. Dare I say, I may prefer it to much of "Danger Days". There is no pretense, there is no message, there is no need to do anything but make music and have fun. One might say they haven't had that spirit since their debut; one might say they've never had it. One way or the other, the EP is quite an exciting, albeit brief, ride. // 7