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Office Soundtrack: The Black Parade

This is a brave, imaginative and superbly-executed piece of work. The young band deciding, in the middle of the digital, disposable, attention-wrecking noughties, to release a concept album inspired by the great dinosaur rock acts of yore. The listener, therefore, will find a deliberate and brilliantly-wrought homage to Queen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Yes and others.

Turbo-charged 70s stadium rock via post-911 armageddon emo and a nutty vaudeville workout  sounds an unlikely, if not horrifying, amalgam. Yet its genius is not merely the audacious musical alchemy that the band deploy to stunning effect; it’s the humanity. And it rises, defiantly, from the cracks, between the charred and cancer-ravaged corpses that litter the album, like spring flowers defiantly in bloom; it’s the powerful and distinctive voice of a young band at their peak that really scores. All the Emo stereotyping and scorn heaped upon the band’s collective head count for nought in the face of one of the very best albums of the last thirty years.

Gerard Way, far too frequently maligned as a self-indulgent, self-pitying emo poster-boy, turns in a career-defining performance and the lyrics, all bitter asides, witty irony and biting cynicism, nestle snugly with moments of real heart, real beauty and an empathy that moves.

Once described as The Dark Side of The Moon for the Tim Burton generation, The Black Parade is angry and celebratory, tender and bitter and very special indeed. The listener will wade through death before the epiphany arrives; this album is life. And it is beauty unbound.

Haters gonna hate, of course, but listen without prejudice, my friends. The Black Parade deserves nothing less. And so do you.

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