My Chemical Romance, "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys"

The uniforms, logos and socio-political bombast of My Chemical Romance's 2006 album, "The Black Parade," have all been safely packed away. The rock quintet is comparatively stripped down and glammed up on its fourth studio album, "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys." It's equally over the top in its ebullient energy, and a bold new direction clothes the act's attitude in a vastly different kind of approach. Like its predecessor, "Danger Days" is aural theater, a graphic novel-esque tale set in 2019 and casting MCR in yet another fictional alter ego. Follow the plot if you can, but don't expect much help from these 15 tracks. They blaze a wide trail, from such thrashing rockers as "Na Na Na," "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back" and "Vampire Money" to melodic near-ballads like "Summertime" and "The Only Hope for Me Is You." MCR brings in some synthy electro touches for "Planetary (Go!)" and turns on some Red Hot Chili Peppers-styled funk for "Destroya," while "S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W" nods to "Abbey Road"-era Beatles. Most important, it's big fun, whether you buy into the high concept or not.

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