Brand New

The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

Written by: TL on 21/12/2006 00:19:31

If you've ever heard Brand New's album "Deja Entendu", there's a good chance you understand just how likely their follow up "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me" was to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Its predecessor was quite simply brilliant. A piece of quiet reflection, so intense in its expression that, song by song, it would burn yourself into your mind as the sound of mood, rather than just a cd.

As could be expected, changes have been made to the bands expression. The small hook filled and self-reflective oddities we loved on "Deja Entendu", have been replaced by spacier and more bombastic compositions, with an an attitude that's become more rock'n roll than earlier. This is especially clear in the angrier end of the still present dynamics, where the gang-screams are no longer as angst-filled and passionate as earlier. Both lyrics and moods are even darker than on "Deja Entendu" (which was already darker than "Your Favourite Weapon"). Haunting, is a word that quite accurately describe the overall feel of the songs. Guitars have got a strangely classic sound to them, and in the crescendos present in almost every song, they play a much larger and more grand part than on earlier material.

Now I could argue, that these changes have made the new album a worse one than the previous one, and probably get away with it as well. The one difference from the old to the new material does in fact bring the new one down a bit, however not in the sound, but in the songwriting. While songs like "Jesus Christ" and "Degausser" are immensely captivating and powerful, and "The Archer's Bows Are Broken" bring back some of the anthemic feeling we loved on Deja, a song like "Limousine" doesn't have the pay off in its climax that justifies its length of seven minutes. Neither can you help but notice how the riffage of "Sowing Season" seems forced just as it's chorus does, and that it's actually a shame, since the composition in the verse holds more promise than that. "Not The Sun" sees the band grasp at a style that doesn't really fit them well, and these things considered, the album becomes a joyride with its bumps. A fact that can't help but spell its downfall, seeing as how you could listen to "Deja Entendu" without interruptions and still feel drawn to each and every song on its own.

I'm not gonna lie to you, I did like the old style better than this new, more secure one. This fact alone would drag the record down a grade, but the main problem is, Brand New being a band that should easily fill a record with good characteristic songs, have only really crossed the finish line on half the songs present. Even the best songs on "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me" are better suited for reminding me of how good the earlier ones were, than for standing out on their own. Although it is a disappointment, it is however still an album that keeps itself floating comfortably a good height above mediocrity by sheer intelligence and moodsetting power.


Download: Degausser, Jesus Christ, The Archer's Bows Are Broken
For the fans of: Straylight Run, Radiohead
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 21.11.2006
Interscope Records

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