The New Year makes the kind of indie-rock that was supposed to go out of style once indietronica and electroclash took over -- that is, depressive, ironic, poetic, introverted, and overtly influenced by the Velvet Underground. Clocking in at nine songs and 33 minutes, The End Is Near weaves its contrarian web with downer lyrics, such as in "Sinking Ship": "The men wanna get it all/The women want to show it off/I just want to get out of here and unhook the smile from my ears," then willingly fades away into the background.
Still there's something comforting about an album that relies on half-whispered vocals and distorted guitars instead of wack synthesizer melodies and Eighties-inspired choruses. The sweet-sounding Matt Kadane and the sardonic Bubba Kadane sing about neurotic thoughts and fractured relationships in voices just low enough to blur the words and stick them into your subconscious. Though The End Is Near is not as accomplished (the unfortunate result of fewer keepers than before) as the Texan brothers' memorable New Year debut, 2001's Newness Ends, they lead you to a dark place illuminated by the mind churning, analyzing.