Release Date: Sep 9, 2008
Record label: Touch & Go
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Anyone who has followed the Kadane brothers over the past almost 20 years first as Bedhead, now as the New Year pretty much knows what to expect from a new album released under their guidance. You're guaranteed chord progressions that start off quietly and build and build until the speakers are overflowing with chiming guitars and your heart swells at the restrained majesty of it all. Count too on Matt Kadane's poignant, almost spoken vocals and glum lyrics.
Breaking their band's own mold somewhat, the brothers Kadane have finally begun pushing the New Year away from its Bedhead roots of gorgeous slowcore. Instead we get a more dynamic, full-bodied sound, replete with the buzzing grind of electric rockers like “The Idea of You” and the nervy, gliding “The Door Opens.” In its own way, The New Year acts as a sort of crossroads album for the band. Not only does it stand as a summation of their greatest (previous) strengths, its rhythmic and propulsive sway points to a new, more fervently alive direction for the group, making both the band and album’s name all the more appropriate.
The brothers Kadane (Matt and Bubba) got flak for ending 90s gaze favourites Bedhead only to start fresh with the New Year, a group that sounds, by most accounts, exactly like Bedhead. Like a bad joke about resolutions, the New Year didn't change at all on their Newness Ends debut and furthered their guitar-trio patterns on 04s The End Is Near. Once again Steve Albini-produced, their third effort doesn't stray wildly from Matt's laid-back vocals and the intertwining melodic guitar parts they're now known for, but there is at least one effort to evolve.
It’s been four years since The End Is Near, the last New Year album, long enough for all the trendy fly-by-night bands to have turned over (er, Kaiser Chiefs? Bloc Party?), long enough for musical fashions to have shifted significantly (out with the post-punk, in with the afro-beat!). Still, here are the two Kadane brothers, doing what they have always done, what has never, except maybe during the brief flourishing of slo-core, been especially fashionable. Here are radiant textures of interwoven guitars, mordant and weary lyrics slipped down into the mix, languid but difficult rhythms in non-standard time signatures.
Matt and Bubba Kadane have never been in much of a hurry to do anything, neither with their beloved ’90s outfit Bedhead nor with their current gig, the New Year. So it’s no surprise that the follow-up to 2004’s The End Is Near took the brothers more than four years. “Folios” unfolds at the same snail-on-muscle-relaxants pace that made Bedhead so maddening and sneakily rewarding—little more than a repeated guitar chord and a tapped snare—before one of the interchangeably low-singing Kadanes ends the song with an amusing confession: “I don’t think the good years I’ve got can wait.” With that, they get right to it.