Review by Greg Maki
Covers albums are a bit like live records—not everyone is into them. I think they can be a lot of fun, as they often provide more insight into a band’s roots and influences than its original material while also reminding us of the strengths of the bands being covered. I’m not a fan, however, of how old it makes me feel when I see songs I grew up with on releases like this.
Three songs from my teenage years find themselves recreated on “Diary of a Creep,” a six-track EP from the Ash Costello-fronted New Years Day. No Doubt’s smash-hit breakup ballad “Don’t Speak” gets an especially dynamic treatment, building from a lonely piano to a rush of guitars, drums and keyboards. (I have to admit I’m a bit perturbed at New Years Day for getting this song stuck in my head again after I heard it roughly 4 million times on the world’s worst radio station in summer 1996 while working in the kitchen at Ledo Pizza. But that’s my problem, not yours.) A swinging, broken-down version of Garbage’s “Only Happy When It Rains” works even better, while a heavily reworked, slowed-down take on Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” shows it wasn’t just the speed and aggression that made the original such a classic.
Elsewhere, New Years Day sticks fairly close to Linkin Park while covering the hit “Crawling” and sounds like it’s having a blast while rocking up New Order’s new wave classic “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
An original track, “Disgust Me,” kicks off the EP and almost feels like an overture, as you can hear the melodic influences of Garbage, No Doubt and Linkin Park all over it; a touch of heaviness, perhaps Pantera-inspired, here and there; and electronics a la New Order sprinkled throughout. It was a smart decision to include it here.
New Years Day’s last full-length album, “Malevolence,” came out more than two years ago. Fans probably want more, but “Diary of a Creep” should be enough to keep them satisfied for the time being.
(Century Media Records, January 26, 2018)