Brand New – Daisy
Brand New’s brand new album Daisy has been getting a lot of press recently. It’s the fourth album from the chameleon-like group and is another one that will polarize fans.
Brand New are enigmatic band to say the least. The music you hear on Daisy sounds NOTHING like the songs from their 2001 debut, Your Favourite Weapon. That fresh-faced record consisted of loud pop-punk with mild emo overtones (not hardcore – even though they were friends with Glassjaw). It’s not really my bag, but it’s not a terrible record either. In between that album’s release and it’s follow up, Deja Entendu, a lot changed. The ’emo’ scene blew up, in more ways than one. Lots of Brand New-alike bands popped up (Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy etc) and the band started to grow up.
Charismatic frontman Jesse Lacey had also been listening to a shitload of Bright Eyes, too. It was evident in his hushed, confessional style of singing and in his smart, caustic lyrics. Brand New were the first band from their scene to slow things down and explore musically and to basically veer from the beaten path a little. That led to the album being labelled a ‘masterpiece’. It also pushed Lacey into teen heart-throb status and the group into the limelight.
In fact, Deja Entendu is not a masterpiece. Far from it actually. It’s half a great album and it’s best moments are the ones that were different from the band’s usual music. The bitter, brutally honest rant of Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis set to a gentle strum of a sole guitar, the barely controlled anger and double tracked vocals of Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades and the intricate indie rock of Jaws Theme Swimming were all highlights. The rest was just a good album of hard pop-punk, with genuine emotional undercurrents and huge hooks.
After touring their arses off in support of Deja, the band then got really interesting for serious music fans. They signed to a major label, Interscope, and then disappeared for 3 years and did no press. Rumours circled that they were finished as a band, and that Lacey would go on as a solo artist. Then they released The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. The result was an amazing transformation for the band. Sounding more like grunge artists like Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, they had taken on a hard-edged, dark sound, with sparse ruminations on God and death replacing the emotional rants of old. Unsettling post-punk and Radiohead-influenced melancholic guitars were order of the day. It was universally acclaimed and sold well.
And now they return, with another album that goes in different directions for the band. Firstly, a warning: this is a difficult album. A dark, some would say depressing tone hangs over these songs which often erupts into aggressive bouts of squalling guitars and screamed vocals. And it’s AMAZING. Old-school Brand New fans seem to think this is an ‘unlistenable’ album and contains no ‘hooks’. All I can say is fuck off. If anyone has listened to and liked Nirvana (Bleach/In Utero days), Fugazi or Pearl Jam will dig this album.
Beginning with an old record of a woman crooning, opener Vices storms into town and becomes the most aggressive, fucked up song Brand New have ever put to tape. From there, the record switches from slow burning torch songs (Bed, You Stole) to full on scream-fests (Gasoline, Sink). I urge you to pick up this album and stick with it. It’s a huge leap forward for the band and I believe it’s the best thing they have done. Here’s a sample: