It’s music in a defiantly minor key – in this day and age when every member of every band can play instruments you’ve never even heard of, The New Year keep it simple.
The New Year – S/T
(Touch & Go) http://www.konkurrent.nl/
The bumf tells us that this is The New Year’s first album in four years and that they don’t like to be rushed. And there is something admirably restrained in taking four years to knock out 34 minutes of music. Given, of course, that it is good music, which it is in this case.
It’s music in a defiantly minor key – in this day and age when every member of every band can play instruments you’ve never even heard of, The New Year keep it simple. A piano is an indulgence; otherwise guitar, drums and vocals will do fine, thanks.
Folios opens the album and is probably the best track. The opening is simple and emotive – a repeating riff that does no more than is required for the opening three minutes and a half minutes. Vocals only join the party for the last minute or so. Its restraint is what makes the song so effective – it’s a tightly coiled riff that is never really unleashed.
The Company is a gently effective song – the ‘flatness’ of the vocals allowing the listener to bring the emotion. In fact the whole album’s power comes from what isn’t done. So few bands have the confidence to let less mean more (who knows – maybe Stars of the Lid albums start off like Yes albums before they work on them). On The New Year you only hear what is absolutely necessary and whilst, on first listen, not all the songs stick, repeated listening reveals a great set of emotionally literate rock songs.
Words: Chris Dawson