The latest EP from New York's Baby New Year is a slick and professional take on their melodic hard rock style that the band has forged since the early 90's. With some recent line-up changes, guitarist Michael Jos and singer Daniel Simpson recorded a few new tunes that show the band in a slightly new light, yet still retain the high sense of melody and modern rock sounds.
While the bands earlier material featured a heavier and more guitar oriented sound, this EP mixes late 80's hard rock with more ballad influenced material, and winds up sounfing like a cross between Riverdogs and recent Pearl Jam. Singer Simpson has an excellent voice, which suits these more laid back tracks perfectly, as on the tender "Wendy", or the catchy opener "Sugar Cube", which also features some tasty guitar licks from Jos. There is an earthiness as well to these songs (hence the Riverdogs reference), especially on the driving "Sunny Day", with acoustic guitars and vibrant vocals telling the tale of one person's yearning. There are hooks aplenty throughout this five song EP, and melodies that will stick with you for some time. I initially expected heavier material from the band, but after a few listens it became apparent the overall quality of the songwriting and simplicity of the arrangements are the real stars here. A song like "We Can Love" contains an anthem-like chorus and truly effective backing vocals, augmented by Michale Jos and his power chords. Fans of 80's UFO will love "Love Turns to Hate", a moody rocker with a memorable hook and stinging guitar solo.
For some great, hummable, hard rock tunes, you can't get much better than this. It will be interesting to see if the band can hook up with a major label in the near future and get these songs and their older material in the hands of the general public.