Ray Toro’s Remember The Laughter is a record that’s been over three years in the making. In that time frame the other remaining members of My Chemical Romance have been keeping themselves busy, Gerard Way and Frank Iero have been in the recording studio recording albums of their own and Mikey Way has made a few appearances at shows here and there and his work with Electric Century makes himself still present. With Ray Toro on the other hand, he’s been pretty much non-existent, known to be working on music but nobody really knew when that music would be heard. Until now.
The start of the album ponders around light guitar melodies and very upbeat Toro vocals. ‘Isn’t That Something’ screams the most ‘single worthy’ track on the album and for an extra touch, has a nifty little Toro guitar solo that might give My Chemical Romance fans of old something to reminisce at. By the time you reach the second interlude ‘Ascent’, there’s a pattern starting to emerge, one of a life being told in single memories separated by interludes throughout the album. One of the later interludes ‘Eruption’ depicts a rather dark image of violence, possibly including someone close to the character, as sirens can be heard behind an emergency services call.
‘The Great Beyond’ fits seamlessly with Toro’s voice, slightly pained but still melodically full of life. Speaking of full of life, ‘Hope For The World’ starting off with the lyrics; “turn off the sound of war and hate.” The track is filled with lovingly wrote lyrics and something Toro could be proud to leave embedded in the album. The six minute long title track is slow to build up, but hits its peak four minutes in with Toro screaming “remember me” followed by a minute and a half long guitar solo fading into rather soothing baby mobile twinkles.
Looking at the album as a whole, the individual tracks don’t measure up to listening to them in the running order intended. Pulling back a few layers from the character based story line you can feel Toro’s past shining through and what he has learnt in turn seems to be a part of this characters story. If you’re listening to this album with any small hope it will fill that My Chemical Romance shaped hole left in your heart, it won’t. But if you’re listening to this album to venture into the mind of Ray Toro as an individual songwriter, then that’s exactly what you have, and it’s quite a lovely journey if you listen closely enough.