The New Division Brings a New Sound to Retro

New album, Shadows, will surprise listeners with its interesting blends.

By , Columnist

New wave music hasn’t died even though we’re way out of the ‘80s where it proliferated for a nice long while. With the advent of such bands like Interpol, The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, The Sounds, and others, this current period of rock and roll is conducive to a growth of new wave revivalism. While the previous bands mentioned may have peaked, there are still bands coming up that exploit that sound to the fullest. By doing so, they are able to appease a wider audience: those who grew up in the original period, and the younger listener.

The New Division, a band from Riverside, California, take their influence from original late ‘70s post-punk bands like Joy Division, their follow-up band, New Order, and in some ways, Depeche Mode and OMD. The band, initially a fun project of primary writer and vocalist John Kunkel, attracted musicians until they were a four-piece band. As they played live to an expanding base of fans, the attention meter began to rise. Before long, they had an impressive and well-deserved fanbase.

In the early part of 2011, The New Division released a well-received six-song EP, The Rookie. It is a composite of electronic music with a familiar Depeche Mode sound. Together, the interesting blend becomes an engaging delight. With heavy synthesizer and reverbed vocals, the songs take on their own identities, all of them fresh. For my money, the closer track (“Bucharest”) is the band’s most expansive tune on that album.

TheNewDivisionShadows.jpgOn September 27, the band released a full-length album with 14 songs. The songs are equally as affecting as their earlier EP would have you believe they might be. Using the same style found on The Rookie, The New Division sorted through their reported 300 demos to flesh out chosen tracks, with each song a non-cracked mirror of exceptional value. The new album, Shadows, is surely one for the books. It will gain plenty of attention.

Los Angeles should be immensely proud to have such a band representing their music scene. Normally, bands like The New Division are positioned elsewhere — in England, or if from the US, then New York. Not stealing anything away from LA, but it’s a surprise - and a treat - to hear such a style come from within its borders.

Shallow Play by The New Division

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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