Review by Greg Maki
New Years Day, which I’m surprised to learn has existed since 2005, has grown steadily since the release of its 2015 album, “Malevolence.” Extensive touring, much of it in the past year with Halestorm, has limited the band’s output since then to the “Diary of a Creep” EP—consisting mostly of covers—released in January 2018. “Unbreakable,” the long-awaited fourth full-length from the Ash Costello-fronted act, could be the one that ends the slow burn and leads to a major breakthrough in popularity.
The record gets off to a troubling start with “Come for Me,” which sounds like an In This Moment castoff, before finding a more distinct sound, one that is simultaneously heavier and poppier than what we’ve heard from New Years Day in the past. Think about that for a minute. It sounds too incongruous to work, doesn’t it? But it does, coalescing best on “MissUnderstood” and the title track. Lead single “Shut Up” leans into the pop side, but it’s followed immediately by the dark and heavy riff of “Done with You.” That kind of dichotomy persists throughout the album, leading to a surprisingly diverse and dynamic set of tunes. With their varied backgrounds, there’s no doubt producers Mitchell Marlow (All That Remains, In This Moment) and Scott Stevens (Halestorm, Shinedown, American Authors) had major roles in crafting this sound, which often is layered with atmospheric keyboards and other electronic sounds..
With the band’s Wikipedia page listing more than 20 current and former members—Costello is the only one who’s been on board the whole time—stability has been an issue for New Years Day. Nevertheless, “Unbreakable” is a cohesive and confident album, trading the darker themes of earlier efforts for blunt messages of strength and empowerment. These are the kinds of songs a growing fan base can rally behind.
RED Music, April 26, 2019