Living Room

New Years

Written by: PP on 25/07/2022 19:50:10

Eight years ago, Living Room released a Midwestern emo/punk album that felt like an explosion of scream-out-loud melody that recalled the likes of Joyce Manor, Alkaline Trio's debut album, and Moneen's emotional beauty all at the same time. The New York quartet has been quiet since then, only to return with their third album "New Years" that essentially drops nearly everything associated with their original sound.

On this album, Living Room introduce a heft amounts of dreamy shoegaze and misty guitar distortion that immediately on album opener "Petrol Head" draws your mind towards seminal records like Title Fight's "Floral Green", Basement's "Colourmeinkindness", and Balance And Composure's "The Things We Think We're Missing".

The crackling screams have been all but removed in favour of a more laid-back clean vocal expression that ranges from the alternative rock of "Oh Boy" to the droning, nostalgia-laden howls in a song like "Mauve Frame" or "Flood". The guitars shimmer and sparkle in treble-charged distortion, providing a hazy, soothing soundscape to allow the vocals room to linger. The emotional charge is still there, only this time not manifesting itself in explosive bursts of melody, rather than in a subdued, calm fashion.

Both approaches have their pros and cons. The first appeals most to punk rockers and FEST attendees. It's an instantly enjoyable sound but the appeal will be limited to merely the fans of that type of music. The latter group will find much to love on "New Years" too because, despite the more reflective nature of the record, it's faithful to other shoegazy emo/post-hardcore groups, which means there's an underlying sense of heavy droning that separates it from more poppy alternatives.

The songs are catchy through their soothing nostalgia and more complex, depth-laden soundscapes. It also means you need to give it quite a few chances to grow on you, as the band's shoegaze doesn't attack you with the same kind of instant urgency as their previous album did. But given enough time, "New Years" is a strong record that charms you with its laid-back, infectiously melody lines like those on "Student Teacher".

Download: Student Teacher, Mauve Frame, Petrol Head, Seven Twenty Three, Cold Morning
For the fans of: Title Fight, Basement, Balance And Composure, Moneen
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.06.2022
Fear Icon Records

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