Last October saw the release of the highly anticipated third Iron Chic record "You Can't Stay Here." This was following the death of founding guitarist Rob McAllister the previous January. The sense of loss is woven into the lyrics and melodies of "You Can't Stay Here" while maintaining the sing-along and instant relatability aspects found among thirtysomethings still interested in punk.

What came out of the other side is an album from these Long Islanders that improves upon their previous release "The Constant One" and is as great as 2010's pop-punk masterpiece "Not Like This." The record maintains its own sense of identity however, with a completely different feel than the others while not straying too far from the formula which garnered them their popularity after the demise of Latterman.

"A Headache With Pictures" opens the record, a typical anthemic Iron Chic song with more lush and layered guitars than we've heard in the past. "My Best Friend (Is a Nihilist)" follows continuing their trend of dark, self-depricating, and introspective lyrics sung in an upbeat and mattert-of-fact way: "I won't see you in Hell if I get there first." "You Can't Stay Safe" is next and serves as an interlude with a slower tempo and the repeated refrain of "You can't stay safe / You can't stay here." Other standout tracks are "Planes, Chest Pains, and Automobiles," and the closer "To Shreds, You Say?"

This record was among the best of any genre for me in 2017. It has had many repeated listens and also serves as a reminder that for many of us, the simplest and most straightforward of songs can have the most substantial effect on us.