The New Dress – Where Our Failures Are

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The New Dress

Where Our Failures Are - Red Leader Records

Folk punk has become a common trend as of late. With the rise in popularity for Against Me!, a sea of copycats have come trying to capitalize on the sound. Some bands, however, are trying to take the style in a new direction and are actually adding some originality into it. Brooklyn’s duo The New Dress are one of those bands as they carry on the folk-punk flag but with a much heaviest emphasis on the folk side of it as opposed to the punk side like Against Me! does.

Where Our Failures Are is a minimalist combination of folk and punk. Just a guy and a girl singing alongside a plugged in guitar, The New Dress leave little to be dissected yet explode through the speakers with force. The sound is raw, simplistic and harsh with lightning fast strumming that is crisp and clear. The vocals compliment one each perfectly as Laura Fidler’s vocals are reminiscent of Rachel Minton if she broke out in the early nineties and Bill Manning sounds like Conor O’berst if he swallowed a couple razor blades to rough up the vocal chords a little bit. They work great either overlapping like on Radio, trading off lines like in the beautiful Thanks, Claire or all by themselves.

At times they sound like The Frenetics, other times it feels like they’re taking a page out of Bright Eyes‘ book (see Wake Up for an example) and sometimes they fall between Lucero and Chuck Ragan. There may not be a lot of bells and whistle to the songs but there is a certain honesty found within it’s simplistic nature that pulls the listener in. The vocals are captivating and sincere and the guitar work is energizing and heartwarming at the same time. You can’t help but smile and sing along with Yeah But No, Radio, Murderous Bugs With Giant Needle Knives and Beer Drinking Under Thinking. They even take a shot at a few cover songs, including an impressive take of Billy Bragg‘s I Don’t Need This Pressure, Ron. Their version of Ed Pickford‘s Worker Song is both entertaining and interesting thanks to the massive contrast between their version and the Dropkick Murphys‘ effort for the same song. (You’ve caught me, I’ve never heard the original).

The record is simple, so I’ll keep my review simple too. It’s a great folk-punk record with a simple, honest vibe to it created by crisp strumming and passionate, worn out vocals.