New Years Day - New Years Day EP
Release Date: November 29, 2006
Label: TVT Records
It's no secret that most chick rock is constructed by big name producers, generally written by middle-aged professional songwriters and puppet-mastered by shady A&R guys with eyes lit by dollar signs. Oftentimes what you hear is more an exercise in marketing strategy than a true work of art, nevermind a product of sacrifice and dedication. That said, New Years Day is a breath of fresh air. Nearly two years into their career, this eponymous EP is not only a preview of the band's forthcoming full length (My Dear, to be released later this spring on TVT Records), but also their first official release--the product of constant touring, demoing, showcasing and even playing MySpace's LA Stadium Two Year Anniversary party. If I may say so, it's well worth the wait.
The EP hooks hard from the start, opening with "I Was Right", a huge rock anthem that recalls Taking Back Sunday, albeit filtered through the band's Orange County pop punk roots and peppered with the band's metal influences. But as catchy as the song is, loads of musical chops were also brought to the table. The track shuffles effortlessly through time signature changes, even dropping an oddly timed stoner metal breakdown (one of the best riffs on the EP) in the middle of the song just to mix things up. "So Long" is equally impressive, showcasing Russel Dixon's tastefully technical drumming and offering loads of background vocals and harmonies from bassist Adam Lohrbach, formerly of Homegrown.
“ Razor” offers hints of the band's dark but poppy collective persona, juxtaposing moody piano and cemetery imagery against frantic guitars and soaring hooks. And while Orange County melodrama coats the entire EP (if mTV's Laguna Beach were made into a punk rock musical...), “Razor” showcases it in spades... “Razor... making headlines and headstones / Breaking hearts and breaking bones... Your life's a performance so let the cameras roll...”
The EP ends on a pair of b-sides, “Who We Are” and “Away”. “Who We Are” is actually one of the strongest tracks on the disc and offers a convincing argument for picking up the EP as opposed to waiting around for the full length. The bouncy pop track offers a few killer lead licks, some of the strongest hooks on the entire EP, a wonderful little tap-dancy breakdown, and a little more insight into their personality, injecting a small nod to Edger Allen Poe into the prechorus... “2, 3, 4... I just can't take this anymore, the same knuckles knockin' at my chamber door.... “Rounding out the disc, “Away” offers another soaring chorus and plenty more flashy lead guitar.
The band's not reinventing the wheel, but if you're looking for a mix of technical musicianship and pop sensibility you can't go wrong with New Years Day. Moreover, if this preview is any indication, the band is a real contender for "next big thing." Time will tell.
For fans of: Homegrown, Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, Anberlin, My Chemical Romance