Brand New


Written by: TL on 03/10/2009 16:36:55

As opposed to the subject of my previous review, Brand New's fourth album "Daisy" is a release that it was not just fair, but almost mandatory, to have absolutely monumental expectations for. Having been called everything from "the Radiohead of America" to "the new Nirvana", Brand New transcended the emo/punk cult status they had on their first two albums with their third "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me", and became a band entirely in their own league, one that will probably be remembered in the future as one of the greats of this decade. And yes yes yes, I know that I criminally underrated that album in my review here on the site, because I failed miserably at wrapping my head around the fact that it wasn't "Deja Entendu pt. 2", and I am sorry. However, I have listened intensively to Brand New's albums prior to writing this review, and I am now not only aware that Brand New are supposed to change from record to record, but also that "TDAG.." was probably their best album to date.

Ironic it is then, that the leap between that record and the new "Daisy" is probably the shortest one the band have taken between albums yet. Don't be mistaken though, while we're still dealing in raw, mature, unapologetic music with lots of respect for rock's traditions, there is one decisive factor that will easily reveal to you whether you're listening to a song from "TDAG.." or "Daisy". Brand New have gotten angrier. Much much angrier. That's saying something I guess, because "TDAG.." wasn't exactly an album that made you feel like rainbows and birthday parties, but yet, the emotion was so much more restrained and internalized on that record. Here, Brand New let it out for everyone to hear, and the result is bound to send shivers down your spine.

At first, the classical female singing that opens "Vices" will have you wondering whether the cd you're listening to was in the right case, and you don't really get any help when the track suddenly explodes into a screamfest alá Warship midstream. Then "Bed" seems more familiar, as it returns to the unsettling, acoustic moods that characterized the prior album, proceeding with much coolness but few surprises till it ends. "At The Bottom" however, makes a lot more noise, quickly leaping from the same western guitar-driven verse-type, into a menacing, distorted chorus that's cried out with a passion. It's no wonder Jesse Lacey and Vincent Accardi (both on vox/guitar) have scheduled time around their shows to recover from blown out voices, because their screams pretty much redefine the word "heart scraping". Simply put: Desperation has seldom sounded this good, and fortunately for us, Brand New keep it coming throughout this record.

Enter "Gasoline", one of the songs written by Accardi, who has contributed with songs for the first time on this record. The change is noteworthy, as the song is more aggressive and energetic than anything on "TDAG.." was, and it is exceptional how well Brand New manage to sound, in a song that's so far away from anything they've done before. Both the screams and the wailing guitars simply make you want to tear things apart and it feels perfect! Still though, it also feels inferior to the upcoming centerpiece "You Stole", which again returns to the moody merits of the previous album. Slowly it progresses, with layer upon layer until a guitar kicks in with riffage of which dreams are made. I know it sounds like madness, but I am tempted to compare its coolness to that of Queens Of The Stone Age's best and most quirky material, except of course that Brand New are still far less "rock'n'roll", far more "whisper'n'roar".

After this stunning display of power, things are broken up with "Be Gone", another song that brings the wild west to mind, as the effects on the chanted vocals brings visions to mind of sitting in a native sweat hut, high on peace pibe and having visions of animal spirits. You barely have time to snap out of it however, as "Sink" delivers another sing/scream explosion, the ferocity of which will leave the words "IF YOU CALL THEN I'M COMING TO GET YOU!" imprinted permanently in your mind. It ends as suddenly as it began, and makes way for four more tracks, the quality of which I don't think I need to impress upon you. The word "consistency" should be description enough.

So, what to rate "Daisy"? And where to place it in comparison to other Brand New albums? The second question is by far the hardest. You see, after revisiting all the albums before listening to this one, trying to understand each on its own terms, I can't help but to think that "TDAG.." is still the best of the bunch. The all out anger of "Daisy" is refreshing and captivating, but on repeat listens, I don't think it allows for its tracks to attain the same longevity as the slower growers of its predecessor. I realize the irony of the situation, given that I was also skeptical of the last albums quality in comparison to the one that came before it, and have ended up having to eat my words time and time again. Regardless, I'm going to award "Daisy" with a grade that reflects how highly it and its parent band is positioned in the artistic hierarchy of the music scene, but just bear in mind, that if I had to grade "TDAG.." today, I'd probably give it just a tiny bit more.

Download: At The Bottom, Gasoline, You Stole, Sink
For The Fans Of: Brand New don't really sound like anyone else but: As Cities Burn, mewithoutYou, Nirvana, Warship

Release Date 22.09.2009
Interscope records

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