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New Years Day

My Dear

(TVT; US: 8 May 2007; UK: Available as import)

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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Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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