Someone over at TVT has been looking at Avril Lavigne’s mini-comeback and thought to themselves, Here’s an opportunity! New Years Day vocalist Ashley Costello went to Gwen Stefani’s high school, but her band’s got far less sass: instead, it’s straightforward pop punk, little more. Sure, Costello can turn a phrase – on “Ready Aim Misfire”, she sings “Shoot my cupid out of the sky / Break off his wings and gouge out his eyes… Your love is my heart disease”. The male-female vocal tradeoffs in a few of the songs offer some measure of interest; more comes from the tracks with piano, enabling the band to add a veil of menace. But mostly, New Years Day are stuck in that big-guitar, conventional Southern California sound. So much better is someone like Alkaline Trio’s smoothed-out mainstream punk; compared to that, New Years Day’s familiarly violent take on disappointed love is fairly flat. Look, pop-punk can be a guilty pleasure to listen to. It’s just - is it too much to hope for something new from this genre, or are we meant to swallow the same thing, over and over again?
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