New Years Day - My Dear Released May 8th, 2007
Disclaimer. New Years Day is not conceptual and therefore does not represent the following in their songwriting: champagne, drunk uncles, finger sandwiches, glittering balls that drop, a crowd of a million or so New Yorkers, parades curated by Macy’s, or Dick Clark. The Californian quintet does however embody the spirit of a renewed sense of “starting over”; be it during a relationship or after it has dissolved into bitter drama. My Dear is a somewhat of a mish-mash of heartbreak and resentment rolled in with powerpop led by the alluring Ash Costello.
Just for fun, wait a couple of days and then read how many reviews describing her as a “femme fatale”. Female vocalists can’t escape that description. Nevertheless, Costello is still pretty fierce. She wears her misfortune on her sleeves and is persistent on striking relatable occurrences with the listeners. And for an album recorded entirely in a bedroom, it’s a fairly respectable debut full-length.
What drew me to first listening to New Years Day was hearing through the grape vine that a certain Adam Lohrbach from Home Grown was the acting bassist for this new band out of Anaheim. Lohrbach unquestionably brings his veteran knowledge of shaping pop-punk rhythm sections into the game here. But, jumping headfirst into New Years Day is not like it was with Home Grown. Here it all depends on if you can stand lines like, “Your love is my heart disease” and lyrical reiterations throughout My Dear. Costello is a decent lyricist for what its worth, but her bleeding-heart animosity is the only thing you’ll hear through the entire album. Her voice compensates, however, as it’ll stand out in a good way whether or not she’s strolling through lyrical diary-damper. Ash’s vocal prowess even saves songs like “You’ll Only Make It Worse” and “Sunrise Sunset” from otherwise being kind of shallow.
The album’s lead-offs, “I Was Right” and “Ready Aim Misfire”, seem to be My Dear’s best. Both employ the band’s perfected “wounded powerpop” instrumentation to the genres’s highest degree and are the paramount car ride sing-alongs. “Ready Aim Misfire” seems to be the band’s self-proclaimed single and for good reason. Costello’s scarily brutal male criticisms will scare the shit out of most XY teen-boppers in any other situation with lines like “Break off his wings/And gouge out his eyes”, but its all about releasing frustration for Ash being that the band was started when the three founding members were going through the same troubled times.
What I find in My Dear is a band venting their initial distress and regret before they can properly dig deeper and find how and where exactly all of this difficulty came from. New Years Day is fantastically on-target and ready to define faltering love lives in crafty and seductive pop-punk form. However, there are a few knicks they need to knacked before that sound comes steadily for them. Fans of Paramore and even Taking Back Sunday shouldn’t think to pick this up; a new favorite is waiting for that majority.