those days are dead

With each album they release, Brand New lives up to their name. While many bands keep their sound more or less consistent, Brand New has offered up something different on each record. The pop-punk of their initial release (Your Favorite Weapon) gave way to the considerably darker musings of Deja Entendu. Following Deja was The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which wasn’t as jarring a transition as between albums one and two, but was still miles away as far as content and production. Brand New began introducing weird clips of unintelligible mutterings and ambient noise, a notion that is much more prominent on their latest release, Daisy.

Daisy is bookended in noise and distortion, starting with the hard-to-make-out kiss-off “she says goodbye to the ground and jumps” and ending on a sustained tone in the right ear that draws to mind the final scene of Pi. Throughout, the combination of distortion and singer Jesse Lacey’s vocal approach make it difficult to decipher the lyrics – which is a shame as lyrics have always been a bright spot in the bands oeuvre.

Lead single “At the Bottom” serves as a fair thesis statement for Daisy. Though much of the album yields a much more abrasive sound, “At the Bottom” straddles the 90s-rock feel of many of the tracks while nodding to the album’s more straightforward offerings. The middle of the album grants some sonic reprieve. “Be Gone”‘s country guitar and otherworldly singing is surely what it sounded like when Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil himself, and follow-up “Sink” is an earthy stomper with explosive punctuations of rage. “You Stole” and “Daisy” are favorites, both maintaining Daisy‘s bleak themes while fighting their way out of the assaultive mêlée. The quiet wax and wane of guitars on “You Stole” compliment the swirling round of the title track – one that makes the listener slightly uncomfortable while drawing them deeper into the dark.

Daisy dropped September 22, 2009.
Check out Brand New’s official website.

we’ve all got wood and nails

The Devil and God are raging inside Brand New, and I think the Devil is winning. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is the dark to Deja Entendu‘s…light isn’t the right word, because that album is depressing as hell…let’s put it this way: TDAGARIM is Deja‘s slightly less attractive but still totally appealing younger brother.

In a musical culture that is currently driven by singles (albeit via the Now! That’s What I Call Music series and iTunes as opposed to actually picking something up at the record store), Brand New goes against the grain, making a cohesive piece of rock goodness. Themes of faith, loss thereof, self-doubt, and personal failure pop up throughout the album. It doesn’t create a direct storyline, but the songs all make sense in the context of one another.

There are several instances of loud interrupting soft, fast taking over slow, and quiet musings versus angry rants, all playing into the feel of two opposing forces being at play. The songs range from acoustic to loud rockers, emo to an almost 90s-ish feel (does the chorus to “Luca” remind anyone else of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Breaking the Girl” in a weird way? anyone?), with a prime example of range being the sixth track, “You Won’t Know”. The beginning sounds like it could have been a track on Deja, but halfway through you think it could have been on Your Favorite Weapon. It is, I believe, the missing link. Rejoice.

Standout tracks include “Archers” and my favorite, “Jesus Christ”. The former is one of the few uptempo rockers on the album, while the latter best captures the themes of the album with its truly fantastic lyrics.

While it may take a few listens to acclimate yourself to the record, it’s worth giving it a shot. As I mentioned previously it’s no Deja Entendu, but few things ever will be.