REVIEW: New Years Day – The Mechanical Heart EP

Artist: New Years Day
Album: The Mechanical Heart
Genre: Rock

I don’t know very much about the band New Years Day, in fact, the extent of my knowledge on them is from last year’s Warped Tour; their merch girl was gorgeous, and they were all some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. That’s all. But I feel like that gives them a pretty good head start in the grand scheme of things. For whatever reason though, I never really got a chance to see them at all last summer, I knew I should have, they had quite a buzz about them, and yet, despite that, I never got around to watching them. I was convinced I was missing out on something, and I wanted to find out what. But of course, as is the way with Warped Tour, I made so many new friends, and had so many new bands to check out, that eventually, through the course of the summer, New Years Day sort of slipped my mind. That is of course, until they released news of their new album, The Mechanical Heart EP, which then hit stores June 21st. When I found out about this album, New Years Day peaked my curiosity once more, and I figured, after nearly a year of putting it off, it was time to give them an actual listen. I was honestly expecting to be let down, as such is often the case when a band is a group of genuinely nice people like New Years Day, it’s almost tragically hilarious, how are you supposed to tell such nice people that their band is awful? Some of my favorite people play in the most horrendous bands. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, despite having a few key factors working against them; I personally have no problem with female fronted bands, but far too frequently, they fall into the trap of that same stereotype that nearly every female fronted band since Paramore made it big has appealed to, it’s just a trap that seems to be too easy to fall into.

Fortunately, despite all these easy-road temptations, New Years Day manage to invent their own signature sound. New Years Day have managed to develop a much darker and heavier sound, while still maintaining cohesive lighter and poppier sections within their songs, expanding their appeal to a much wider audience. The chorus of “Murder” is a perfect example of this, it’s very dark, and yet it has a catchy and accessible sound that is downright infectious. Another example of the great dynamic contrast seen between songs is “Resurrection”, which is by all intents and purposes a heavier song, but the break into the chorus exhibits a completely different tone to the rest of the song, giving the listener a driving and catchy hook that verges on just straight pop. But strictly speaking, when ignoring all the specifics, New Years Day is a pop band, they are a very dark pop band, but a pop band nonetheless, so they don’t really offer any progressive tendencies, or overly complex vocals and lyrics. So naturally, analyzing them as anything more would be completely unnecessary, that is not their purpose, they are trying to deliver simple yet catchy songs, with a much darker tone than is typical, especially for a female-fronted pop rock band.

A band like New Years Day certainly isn’t going to appeal to everybody, and in all honesty, they aren’t something I would listen to in my regular rotation, but their appeal isn’t completely lost on me. I’m not a huge fan of the stereotypically Californian overdone wardrobe, but I’m not here to talk about what they’re wearing, that’s just the inner bitter Bostonian in me speaking. A band like New Years Day is for the Green Day crowd; a dark, yet accessible pop-rock band, they aren’t anything more, but they don’t claim to be. So if you grew up on “American Idiot” era Green Day, or ever listened to My Chem’s “Black Parade”, this album would be right up your alley. And while it’s not exactly my taste, at least they didn’t fall into the “nice people; horrible band” category.

SCORE: 7/10
Review written by: Michael Hogan

James Shotwell
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