24 Jul 2022 - Dan D.
Emo, Punk, Pop-Punk | Fear Icon Records | Release date: 10 Jun 2022
Back in the early 2000’s when I was at university, Drive-Thru Records was big. I mean REALLY BIG. I spent a sizeable chunk of my student loan purchasing CDs and shirts over a stupidly slow dial-up internet connection from their website and waiting weeks for them to be delivered. I didn’t mind so much as at that time a pound sterling pretty much equated to two dollars and shipping was peanuts, so I was getting a bargain. When the parcel finally arrived, I’d eagerly tear into it to and indulge in the pop-punk and emo melodies of Finch, Midtown and my personal favourite, The Early November. Living Room’s approach reminds me a lot of the first The Early November releases, they are more in the emo territory than pop-punk but still have certain pop-punk sensibilities, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed if New Years was included in my box of goodies shipped from the States.
Living Room is a quartet from Brooklyn, NY and they wear their love for late ‘90s and early noughties pop-punk and emo with pride for all to see. The nostalgia emanating from this album is palpable. From the first ten seconds of opener “Petrol Head” you know exactly what you’re in for. Catchy hooks galore? Check. Dual vocal goodness? Check. Crisp production? Check. Emotive lyrics about youth and growing older? Check.
Whilst Living Room employ this formula throughout a lot of the duration of New Years, a majority of tracks come in under the 4-minute mark and none overstay their welcome. A number of the songs present remind me of other bands, for example “Mauve Frame” has a riff reminiscent of “Telepathetic” by Sløtface, “Seven Twenty Three” could easily be a track from New Found Glory’s ‘grown-up’ album Coming Home and there are a lot of The Early November similarities (especially vocal delivery on certain tracks – so much so I had to check that Arthur ‘Ace’ Enders wasn’t involved), but despite this it never sounds like plagiarism but more of a knowing nod to possible inspirations. Scott Fitzpatrick and John Nicholls’ guitar and vocal work compliment each other just as you’d want them to on a release like this, the rhythm section of Kevin Dobbins and Fred Trumpy underpin the tracks admirably and the production from Gary Cioni is spot on.
New Years is not “original” by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t matter. It does what it does very well and did a damn good job in making me nostalgic for a great period in my life. Now where are the log in details for my Friends Reunited and Myspace accounts?