The New Music
This Irish indie follows Adrian (Cilléin McEvoy), a young classical pianist who runs away from home, having been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, and moves in with a student punk band called The Cellmates. Initially dismissive of his Dublin roommates’ rudimentary rock music, Adrian grows to love the group and its carefree drummer Jodie (Martina Babisova).
At just 80 minutes, The New Music is a low-commitment The Commitments, its story so simplistic it’s practically an Avril Lavigne song (“she was a punk, he did recitals, what more can I say?”). The lengths taken to draw disparity between these two worlds feel strained, characterising the suit-wearing Adrian as a kind of musical zombie, so comically opposed to rock music he appears to have stumbled straight out of Footloose.
His flatmates are much more believable, particularly Babisova as the grounded, relatable Jodie, with Jack Fenton and Patrick O’Brien providing natural doses of playful bassist vs guitarist banter. Together, The Cellmates offer Adrian a creative lifeline after his promising musical career is abruptly derailed, opening his eyes to the accessibility and permissiveness of punk, the space for imperfection and self-expression growing increasingly profound as the drama unfolds.
Writer/director Chiara Viale delivers a heartfelt ode to the DIY punk scene, and its music lends authenticity to an overly predictable story. Where Good Vibrations looked back on the birth of punk, The New Music looks ahead through a contemporary soundtrack of young bands with names like Elk Gang and Shit Present, as well as Adrian’s contrasting moments of classical piano. Regardless of one’s feelings about punk, any film that features Mozart alongside Crywank is at least noteworthy.
Slightly hamstrung by its own low-key, DIY execution, this shoestring movie has enough charm to convince viewers of the limitless value of music when it’s played from the heart – a message that may not be new, but is always worth hearing.
The New Music is released digitally on demand on 18th January 2021.
Watch the trailer for The New Music here: