REVIEW: NEW YEARS DAY – “Unbreakable”
Formed in Anaheim, California in 2005, New Years Day displayed an impressive knack for communicating their music online from very early on. We’re talking MySpace early on. This skill set married with their talent as songwriters resulted in opening some game-changing avenues. Suffice it to say, it came as little surprise when the band, with their wistful lyrics, memorable hooks, and engaging contemporary Gothic image, saw their online presence rise quickly, garnering themselves a profusion of interest from potential record labels and a rapidly expanding fan base. A fan base that, today, eagerly awaits the bands first full-length release since 2015, ‘Unbreakable’.
Up until now, the primary focus of the bands subject matter concentrated on heartbreak, failed or soured relationships and other love lost legacies. While it certainly worked for them, a point is proven by their highly successful album ‘Malevolence’, their approach was beginning to feel generic, teetering close to having their “demise of the romantic” themes feeling overly exhausted. Thankfully, ‘Unbreakable’ breaks this cycle, propelling New Years Day in a much more interesting, substantial and exciting direction.
The albums first single offering, “Skeletons,” excellently demonstrates this newly refined and resilient New Years Day. Retaining their familiar groove riffing, vocalist Ash Costello re-emerges with a new mission statement. If she once focused on serving as an adherent for the heartbroken, Costello commands, and demands, that you face up to that which you hide from in warts and all call to arms. “Shut Up” exacts that same, unforgiving energy against a more radio-friendly backdrop courtesy of guitarists Nikki Misery and Austin Ingerman, bassist Frankie Sil and new blood on drums, James Renshaw. Musically geared in a direction that plays with pop, though with a slackened grip, “Shut Up” has a fire in its tone and angst in its execution that fuses brilliantly with the rest of the components of the track.
On the evidence so far, ‘Unbreakable’ blatantly warrants the excitement that surrounds it. Indeed, you may very well need your sonic pallet cleansed if “Come For Me” doesn’t hook you. With its bouncy vocal line and horror-bop synth, often affiliated with fellow peers such as Motionless In White, it succeeds in not only being a sensational opening track but can, and should, find itself among the albums leading singles. As should “Break My Body” if there’s any justice left. A call and response based anthem that feels written with an audience in mind, this storming piece is sure to burrow its way into the bands upcoming set list.
‘Unbreakable’ seldom falls short, but nevertheless, it does in places. The albums title track staggers dully throughout its entirety. Its chorus, too, fails to pick up the pace from what little momentum precedes it, sounding less like an original New Years Day song and closer to a heavy re-imagining of Sia’s “Chandelier”. But while this song has its issues, it is at least memorable. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for others accompanying it. If “Misunderstood” takes a stab at some lyrical wit and a chorus that throws you against the wall, it only manages to toss you to the couch. Luckily, such examples are few and far between one another.
Given the recent announcement that MySpace has lost all of its recordings uploaded prior to 2015, the timing of ‘Unbreakable’ feels slightly bittersweet. Not only does 2018 mark a significant loss on the platform New Years Day first placed themselves on, but it also sees them shed that once lingering grief and anguish in favor of something more substantial, with a sense of strength and self-worth. Unshackled from the past, ‘Unbreakable’ sees New Years Day returning to form with a new found assurance that is certain to take them to some new and exciting territories. It’s a new dawn, a new day and a new life for New Years Day, and they’re sounding very good indeed.