It seems like every new album comes with the ‘most anticipated release of the year’ tag. This is generally due to eager fans creating hype as they patiently wait on the sidelines. For Long Island’s Brand New, however , everyone in the music world is curious to see how on earth they are possibly going to match 2006’s epic “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me” with publications such as the New York and LA times comparing the CD to works of music legends such as Pink Floyd and Nirvana.
After a last second name change, Brand New prepare to unleash “Daisy” here in Australia on September 18th.
For the first time, lead singer/songwriter Jesse Lacey took a back seat to the song writing process with lead guitarist Vincent Accard taking the lead role. There is a noticeable difference lyric-wise from their previous effort, but Jesse still manages to tear out his heart and take the listener along for the journey. A selection of songs off the cd were produced by a long-time friend of the band, Mike Sapone, and mixed by Dave Sardy (Rage Against the Machine, Cold War Kids, Slayer).
Deborah Konopnicki sat down with the new album this week, and here's what she thought about it.
Tracklisting - (Please note this is the order of play on our promo copy, it may not be the final confirmed tracklisting)
1. Vices - 3:24
2. Bed - 3:09
3. At the Bottom - 4:04
4. Gasoline - 3:32
5. You Stole - 5:59
6. Be Gone - 1:30
7. Sink - 3:19
8. Bought a Bride - 3:06
9. Daisy - 3:06
10. In a Jar - 3:05
11. Noro - 6:26
The album opens up with “Vices”, a grainy piano piece from yesteryear with a female vocalist that explodes into a frenzy with loud guitars, frantic drums a punchy bass line and an angry Jesse. After straying away from screaming on TDAGARIM, this song is a slight shock to the system. The track is quite a raw one, with messy guitar and gut wrenching shrieks. It’s very different for Brand New, but it works so damn well.
“Bed” is more typically ‘Brand New’ then the previous number. Jesse’s familiar croon takes the lead as he paints a rather dreamy picture. The song is nothing spectacular by the band’s lofty standards, and like the title suggests, might be something that you listen to trying to fall asleep.
“At The Bottom” is the first single off “Daisy”. It starts off with some rather simple and beautiful guitar that eases into the verse with Jesse talking about all things morbid, with his freakish ability to make it sound poetic. The chorus is powerful and passionate with battling vocalists adding that extra edge. It’s slightly less polished then the tracks off TDAGARIM, but lyrically it fails to disappoint.
A live version of “Gasoline” has been floating around on youtube for quite some time as it was one of the songs that the band previewed to eager audiences a couple of months ago. The beating drums and raspy vocals steer this track in a somewhat aggressive direction. Perhaps whimsically, Jesse suggested that he “tried to put a fire out [and] used gasoline”. The verses are screamed in the same manner as the first song, making some of the lyrics a little hard to work out. This track is a definite standout.
“You Stole” is another soft starting number. The acoustic guitar welcomes the rest of the band as they almost drag through the track. The middle section, while still maintaining it’s drone-like quality amps up slightly, and transfors into that same grainy quality that makes the opening tracks so unique. The song reminds me slightly of “Jesus Christ” from TDAGARIM, remaining at the same pace for most of the song, with a slight blip of passion towards the end.
“Be Gone” is a very bizarre song. The brassy guitar and drum beating is reminiscent of something from the deep south during the 40’s and 50’s. The vocals are too distorted to understand. At 1:30, it’s easy to dismiss.
“Sink” is a harsh number. Jesse sets the tone by exclaiming “I don’t want to let you go, but it hurts my hands to hold the rope..” before, again, screaming. The guitar in the chorus is very similar to the previous track. There are some beautiful riffs thrown in amongst the distortion. Brand New always manage to lull the listener into a false sense of where the song is heading. They do it beautifully with ‘Sowing Season’ off the previous record, the opening track off this cd, and perfectly for this song. The mood changes from quiet and poised to hectic and noisy. It’s perfection in song form.
“Bought A Bride” is quite a grand number that starts off in a rather subdued manor before exploding at the start of the second verse. Jesse’s vocals tear right through the melodic guitar. The double pronged vocal attack in the chorus gives the song some extra power.
The album’s title track, “Daisy” starts off with what sounds like an aged spoken recording. This appears to be another sombre number with some soft acoustic guitar backing Jesse singing that, “I’m a mountain that has been moved, I’m a river that is all dried up”...as well as a number of other somewhat depressing metaphors. The guitar continues as another spoken word clip is inserted, this time of a young boy. The second verse is presented in the same way as the first lyric-wise. The entire band joins in with a droning backing clip to Jesse’s laments. As the song reaches it’s peak, the chaos disappears, and the acoustic guitar returns and eventfully fades out. It’s one of the more touching songs on the album.
“In A Jar” opens with that same southern guitar tone that seems to be somewhat of a theme throughout the CD. Like most of the tracks on this album, the calm makes way for a mesh of noise and screaming. The calm returns with Jesse again speaking about his imperfections, and dragging the listener along with him. The frenzy returns and the song ends rather abruptly.
The album finishes off with “Noro”, which feels like it could have belonged to TDAGARIM, being quite atmospheric, raw and epic. The song has a large instrumental section with the same twangy guitar with a vocal line that sounds like "I'm On My Way To Hell" being echoed over and over like a war cry of sorts. The end of the song welcomes back the same piano track from the beginning of the CD, rounding off a rather ambitious effort.
For a lot of Brand New fans, it seemed like an almost impossible task to surpass the masterpiece that was TDAGARIM, and I think that “Daisy” falls slightly short in that respect, but only by a small margin. Brand New are definitely delving into unfamiliar territory, and taking a much more aggressive approach to their song writing which adds yet another dimension to their already vast array of masterpieces. I felt that a few of the songs on this CD sounded quite simular in parts, but there were definitely some standout tracks that are going to be instant classics. “Daisy” is a fantastic album, but the bar was set just a little too high after their last release.