Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review: The New Up "Better Off" [EP]

San Francisco alt rock outfit The New Up release the "Better Off" EP on August 18, 2009. It is the second in a trilogy of EPs - their first, "Broken Machine", charted on the CMJ Top 200 in 2008. The trilogy is an analysis of society - "Better Off" is a step towards resolving the conflicts in society that were first raised on "Broken Machine".

Driven by the post-punk vocals of ES Pitcher and the heavy dark riffs of guitarist Noah Reid, The New Up sounds a lot like the grunge version of Blondie. Intelligent lyrics, well-placed harmonies and backing vocals, and the occasional flute combine to keep things interesting.

The group is not a one-trick grunge pony, however, as evidenced by the great dance rock beat of "Bitch". On this track, comparisons to a feminine The Killers are likely, which is not too surprising given that they recorded with Jaimeson Durr, who has worked with The Killers and Franz Ferdinand. Another highlight is "Dear Life", with its blasting guitars and catchy vocal line demanding repeated listens.

The final EP installment is due next spring and "will complete the transformation by exploring the feeling of finding hope after experiencing the pain of having lost things that seem necessary, but that ultimately are holding us back." This will build off the themes addressed in "Dear Life" and promises to be another audio treat.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3

The New Up on MySpace. Official site.

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