The New Dress - Where Our Failures Are
This debut by NYC duo Bill Manning and Laura Fidler, The New Dress will strike you as refreshing, smart and ballsy or ultimately too annoying to celebrate. Its jaunty, slightly jagged guitar-driven pop is buoyed by lyrics that speak to power both with grim anger and giddy hope, the latter mostly supplied by vocals that coo and squawk with a tone that can only be called childlike. Or childish, depending on your tolerance for it. Covers of Billy Bragg (“I Don’t Need This Pressure, Ron”) and Ed Pickford (“Worker’s Song”) mix well with righteous originals like “Yeah, But No,” “Setting Off Alarms” and “Where Our Failures Are” showcase the band’s willingness to address current events with directness and with a sincere anger. Too often, however, the arrangements seem self-righteous rather than righteous, and thus rob the tunes of the depth they need to be memorable.Other more personal tunes like “Two Sweatshirts” and “Thanks, Claire,” benefit from the production.The ideas and sentiments on “Where Our Failures Are” are much needed in today’s rather sheep-like response by the music industry to these crazy times. Great lyrics delivered as if they were a lark ruin what could have been a monster release. Still, there is a lot to impress on Where Our Failures Are, and maybe it is one of those sets that will age well, if we are still here.
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