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The New Year
The End Is Near
Touch & Go

I was really happy when I found out there was a new album coming by The New Year. A follow up to the brilliant Newness Ends (2001). The New Year is Matt and Bubba Kadane's (who used to be Bedhead) band. All songs Kadane, Kadane. Prduced by Matt and Bubba Kadane. Same as last time around. Same as in the Bedhead years. Mike Donofrio is still the bass-player, and Chris Brokaw (of Come, Codeine, Consonant, plus solo) is still the drummer. But the band is now expanded, including two more guys: Peter Schmidt ("the unofficial sixth member of Bedhead", according to Matt K.) on guitar, and Josh McKay (ex-Macha) on keyboards, guitar, and percussion. Is the end near?

The End Is Near opens with "The End's Not Near". What a relief. Well, even though if the end's been somewhere near The New Year's sedative rock would've calmed you down into total relaxation. The new album follows the path from the debut (and the Bedhead albums), which means rather low-whispered, slow-floating, uh, "nerve rock". Not totally gloomy, but from the more shadowy side of life. With lyrics and melodical moods lifted from some palette not including the brighter and shinyer colors. Imagine Velvet Underground mixed with Joy Division and Galaxie 500. Dark new wave. Wich shifts and swings, contrasting silent and noisy parts. The End Is Near was, as its predecessor, recorded in Chicago by Steve Albini. Which means the Albini sound is present, giving the soundscapes the right touch of being dry but yet rich and spicy.

To pick a couple of favorite tracks: the bosssa-rhythmed "Chinese Handcuffs", and the quietly starting "Disease". And, yes, of course the catchy "Age of Conceit". But the stand-out track and the the 'tour de force' of The End Is Near is the dazzling, 8 minute long piece "18". So sad it almost hurts, ending with carefully, dazed guitar cascades. With stunningly doomy lyrics, almost beyond Nick Drake and Ian Curtis. "Even when you're looking out of a body that's one day away from being a corpse, you still feel 18 on the inside / This is something you should know, there's no escape in getting old / But that I heard when I was told so when I was 18 on the outside".

The music of The New Year is not meant for sunny daze I guess. But they for sure make the heat rise when the temperature's too far down.

The band resides in Boston, Dallas and New York, I think, but their official address is: The New Year, P.O. Box 720935, Dallas, TX 75372, USA. Tell them they're good.

Copyright © 2004 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our New Year articles/reviews: New Hope for Lifesaving Sound, The New Year.

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