Review Summary: Irony in the form of breaking their identityNew Years Day
have never been the most beloved of so-called "scenecore" bands, with their infatuation with radio rock being a turn-off for plenty of people. Despite the promise that their debut album My Dear
showed to many, they just couldn't seem to even come close to actually tapping into the potential on their following albums. To put it bluntly, Unbreakable
doesn't tap into the potential either. But is it a bad record by any means？ Despite the flaws, it's not.
Ash Costello's vocals are one of the strong points as always; when she isn't being drenched in unnecessary bitcrushing, she actually pulls off some top-notch performances. Unfortunately, the instrumentalists haven't improved one bit, and they actually seem to have taken a downgrade: guitarists Austin Ingerman and Nikki Misery have developed a bizarre fascination with trying to put their own spin Get Scared's guitar work, right down to the sound of their guitars sounding almost exactly like the guitars present on the Get Scared's Demons
; this doesn't really work out and honestly makes it feel like they're ripping Get Scared off. The bass and drums have been watered down to the typical radio-friendly instrumental work; in other words, they've fallen into blandness. Costello's lyricism hasn't changed a bit; she's still the same wannabe goth, but she actually cranks out some decent—and occassionally even clever (see stand-out tracks "Skeletons" and "Poltergeist")—lyrics throughout the album. Musically, the biggest issue with Unbreakable
is New Years Day chucking the tiny amounts of uniqueness they had away in favor of sounding like every other radio rock band (and in some cases, non-radio rock bands).
The production on Unbreakable
is what contains the bulk of the album's problems; the producer has a VERY
annoying obsession with bitcrushing, which honestly hurts vocals more than helps on every occassion (see Buckcherry's "Warpaint"); this extends into bitcrushing the screams
as well, and it obviously sounds like The Chainsmokers trying to take a shot at making an avant-garde metal masterpiece. As is typical of modern rock, the bass tends to be drowned out by every other instrument, which is a trope that should have been dead the moment it arrived. In short, the stand-out moments on Unbreakable
are when the production is actually focused, which is typically when the band embraces their roots and forgoes trying to be the next big female-led radio rock band.
is absolutely not a great album by any means; but it's definitely not a bad one. It absolutely won't get any hold-outs on board and it actually might even alienate part of the fanbase as well. New Years Day need to tread very
carefully in the future; they can either patch the holes that bog down this album or they can let more holes open and sink themselves into the bottom of radio hell. But until Ash Costello picks her poison, Unbreakable
is a fun, satisfactory listen from the New Years Day camp, but if you're not into this kind of music to begin with, you're gonna have a bad time.