The New Year

A band taking four years between recordings is cause for both anticipation and dread, and on The New Year's The New Year, the results bring equal parts frustration and relief. Kadane brothers Matt and Bubba continue to anchor the Dallas-based band, with a supporting cast plucked from Saturnine, Macha and Codeine. This third release since former incarnation Bedhead fractured in 1998 brings little new soundwise. The guitars are still mostly clean, and the songs are still hushed, slow and full of the quiet desperation, patience and confidence in Matt Kadane's voice. The first half is big and bright and even ditches the clean guitars, but once The New Year peaks at "The Door Opens," an upbeat number that rivals Bedhead's "Extramundane," it begins a slow, watery descent (a lot of it on piano) that treads water until the closer. That payoff, "The Idea of You," brings back the group's heretofore abandoned crisscrossing guitar patterns, turns up the volume and takes The New Year full circle. Listeners just have to wait through the entire second half — kind of like the past four years.

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Lance Walker