Brand New - Daisy
Long Island's amorphous rockers, Brand New, have gained an enormous following over the years, escaping from claims of interchangeability with bands like Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run and selling out shows throughout the tri-state area's most popular venues.
Possibly at the height of their popularity, and amongst news of playing at their hometown's Nassau Coliseum, Brand New are releasing their fourth album, Daisy, to concerned fans. While the release of most albums is often an experience of nervous anticipation for fans, Brand New's history of changing aesthetics only increases the fear of the band's sound shifting too drastically, often in a polarizing, Radiohead-esque fasion.
After their pop-punk origins, the band found success with the more emotive and introspective Deja Entendu, which they followed their third release, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, an album of notable ambivalence, and also the band's darkest effort to date.
Daisy is less of a leap but more of a progression from Devil and God, culling the better aspects from their former album, the improved instrumentation, the loud/soft dynamics, and allegorical lyrics, to make a more cohesive and unique whole.
Still, their latest effort separates itself from Devil and God in a strange way: it sounds musically unconventional, even abrasive, focused on the conveyance of raw emotions through a pummeling sonic force. From the visceral screams on the opener, "Vices," to the guttural yelps on "Gasoline," Brand New seem more fitted than ever to tour with their fellow Long Islanders, the post-hardcore band, Glassjaw, who will join them at the Nassau Coliseum this November.
After a country-twanged intermission, "Sink" continues the album's unmitigated aggression, seemingly imploding during the song's screaming breakdown and heart-thumping drumbeat, ending abruptly in a tumultuous outburst. The screechy guitars of "Bought a Bride" then follow, continuing the album's two motifs: musical fury and lyrical subjects of marriage, loss, and disorientation.
Though often, without justification, disparaged as an ordinary emo band, Brand New convey their emotions with aplomb, eschewing the trite subject matters most emo bands sloppily embrace. There is no jilted lover in Daisy, at least not revealed overtly, but rather aggressive, often hazy guitars and lashing dynamics, which build to crescendos that no eyeliner-flaunting band could ever pull off.
Brilliantly tracklisted, the softer aspects lessen the bruises from the album's heavier songs, intervening with songs like the gentle, yet insidious, "Bed," and the gorgeous, "You Stole," bleeding its slide and chiming guitars seamlessly into a fuzzy guitar solo that momentarily washes the album's tension away.
The effectiveness of the songs' contrasts is a testament to the album's success as a whole. Daisy is intended to be heard in one sitting, as revealed through the samples of an a cappella opera singer that bookend the album, which brings a mystique around the lyrical concepts and musical motifs that bind the album together.
Daisy is the band's most complex, and could very well be their best, release to date. It is honest yet abstract; dark but not weighted in sadness; and an encompassment of a wide range of human emotions without pretension or melodrama. It is hard to see this band getting any bigger, but if there was any album that will earn them widespread critical success (ignoring the mainstream audience), this should do it.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.
on 2009-12-06 thewindoncehadus Said:
As a long time listener of, and fan of Brand New, I can say without hesitation...almost nothing concerning this album. That's no commentary on how I feel about the album; I loved it. More, its the only way I can convey the size of the album. In my life, there have been a very small number of albums that at the same time immediately attract me and at the same time leave me feeling inadequate to understand them. This is one of those albums. The themes throughout the album don't go over my head, or miss their target. Rather, they hit dead on, and I'm left with the same questions that the band has. Between the meaning of people's actions, the meaning behind their questions, and a cynicism caused by a feeling of naivete, Brand New find the words to describe the questions on the tips of our tongues that I could never hope to emulate. That being said, this is an album beyond just its lyrical content. The nature of the lyrics seems to pour over to the instruments.
Brand New samples few things stylistically from their other albums in Daisy; this is very typical of the band. With this album, they create a sound not found in Deja Entendu, or the Devil and God, and certainly not in Your Favorite Weapon. From top to bottom, this is an album meant to be listened to as a whole.
Songs like Sink, Gasoline, and In a Jar are almost relentless, and make you feel the anxiety of feeling like you're running out of time or hope to find the answers to the questions you can't shake. At the Bottom feels the release and sadness accompanying giving up after accumulating mistakes like a flood brought on by your own actions. The title track describes how painful the lies and misgivings of your own life can feel, and how specifically you could describe them without ever being able to convey their weight. Brand New explores territory that isn't necessarily new to the music scene; they just seem to have an ability to reach those emotions and make them more accessible than nearly any other band. Noro is a perfect example of this - "I'm on my way out. I'm on my way to hell. I've tried, God knows that I've tried."
Musically, BN tends to explore a quicker pace in many songs, followed a lot by a heavy, bass powered sound. They balance these perfectly with songs that allow you to slow down and digest the best you can what the previous song has done to you mentally and emotionally, without distracting you from the current track. You Stole is the perfect track to follow Gasoline - quiet and passionate, its beautiful melodies allow Gasoline to sink in, and let you access the story Jesse crafts at the same time. And at the end, when Noro fades in gospel, you're left wondering, not what just happened, but just where your own answers are to these questions.
Daisy is a musical masterpiece, one crafted as an emotional and existential conduit; it reaches you beyond its notes, beyond its melodies, and bass punches. It hits you in the same way a mid-life crisis might. You're forced to search for the answers to the questions you have, only now, you know you aren't alone.
on 2009-10-09 steadierfooting Said:
Really nice review. First time I've been to this site... I'll be back.
The more I listen to this record the more it becomes not only digestible, but good from top to bottom. I was worried after Devil & God that BN had spent all its creative energy on blowing their own sound wide open, leaving the songwriting process as something of an afterthought. If that was the case, then this disc is proof that they haven't forgotten how to write a good tune.
Seems that tracks like "Millstone" and "Jesus Christ" were used as springboards for this whole record, and I don't mean that in a bad sense. From start to finish this disc has a monstrous groove to it; it's the best that BN's rhythm section has ever sounded and it allows the guitars an almost infinite amount of space to maneuver. And speaking of guitars, this might be the most eerie, haunting mess of guitarwork since Modest Mouse's The Moon & Antarctica. Speaking of Mouse, I'd be remiss not to mention the amount of time Jesse Lacey spends at the altar of Isaac Brock, but it's done with such intent and purpose that you can only cheer it on. All Brock does these days is write quirky pop music and hang out with Johnny Marr, so someone needs to carry his bleak, existentially-challenged torch. Might as well be these guys.
on 2009-10-06 hstisgod Said:
I'm doing the same thing with DAisy as I did with Deja, playing it too much. With TDAGARIOM I managed to listen in healthy doses. Not with this. BTW, has anyone else noticed, and god protect me for saying this, an Axl Rose twinge on Laceys lungs during "Sink" choruses. Its eery but beautiful.
on 2009-09-28 kev_stev Said:
Glad you guys like the review and the album! Sick review there, Brian!
on 2009-09-23 hstisgod Said:
On their fourth major studio release, the pressure was seemingly built up more than their last long awaited release. So it's fourth and goal, can Brand New stuff this record down the throats of those playing a 'they'll never keep it up' defense?
Despite the lyrical redundancy of "Bed", the dropping and risings of melodies done in carefully tactful waves is unprecedented by Brand New. That's the imagery I get with this entire album. Even the lead track that leaked in all its terrible production glory, "At the bottom", has that signature unique Brand New embrace to it. Welcoming you with that loopy somehow guitar'ed atmospheric echoing of instrumentation. Lacey enjoys help from lyrical distortion, but this is merely the beginning of how the lyricism changed. I said to a friend, and though he wont ever agree, this album is a blinding realization that Lacey and company do not need politically or otherwise charged stories to have people enjoying their melodies. Brand New proves what The Juliana Theory couldn't, music regardless of lyrical connection is deep in one listeners soul. Daisy has much more connection with a familiar and memorable beat of human energy than the pipes of one's vocal chords.
For instance, "Gasoline", who actually cares what this man is rambling about? Let me explain it this way...Its like taking Explosions In The Sky, rolling it up tight inside a ball of rubber bands, adding just a backing vocals of random collections and tone, and you've got an energetically experimental acoustirock morphing. "You Stole" is black and heads back to "Deja Entendu" for that more story-bound Brand New. You can imagine it live, Lacey stepping up to the mic in one spotlight, as the band is black playing this dreamy blankness of progressive rock. Most likely a live opener? Regardless, the focus of this track is the bridge, once again, only comparable to those we don't speak of (Floyd, Radiohead).
I simply can't imagine another band out there, so against media attention, but flourishing in much part thanks to that very attitude. I can only hope this sort of open minded effort continues to come, no matter how long they take.
"Be Gone" has that country twaang everyone is referring to indeed, its odd, and simply an experimentation for the next album as far as Im concerned. The title track is moody, and with samples. As Lacey sings down the road, it's a bit of a sermon for him to speak of sermons, but his vocals play the general of this song, leading the path of electric fretting.
"Sink", at first can track in fans of Garage Rock (ala White Stripes), and then explodes like you need Brand New to. Digging for anything, it seems this record is done in prelude to an amazing challenge of bettering it on any next effort. On "Sink" experience what my friend Sean was saying. Listen for that Fugazi, out of control bellowing of upstream Punk Rock. While the solo's of "Vices" are very Cobain, this song has that over the edge audacity that simply can not be matched by anyone but these four.
Though another lyrically repetitive track, "Bought A Bride" has that scratchy aggressiveness only Brand New can place on your speakers. "In A Jar" has that gripping beat, and repetitive lyrical energy again. I don't know that I've ever heard a salado of genre this entertaining, not since their last release at least.
Another terrifically melodic track is "Noro". Which has that The Cure familiarity that hasn't been heard since 'Deja'. Soft starting, and tempo'ed by bass, Lacey has a strong hold on the instrumentation that only forces a tighter grip on the beat. Distorted vocals cut the jam during its bridges, then guitar solos riddle the track. Sprinkle in the very oddly placed 40's style vocals thrown in from time to time, this very epic, and flowing song has left me with an imprint of this beat in my head.
Not many artists can consistently prove their critics wrong, but Brand New has proven themselves to be so prolific they not only get in the end zone, but don't even need a kicker. Send the offense back on the field for two. That begs the question, can Brand New continue to put out solid efforts at a quicker pace, and does it's fan base welcome the idea? In any fashion Daisy was worth the wait!
*iTunes purchasers (yes even us reviewers buy music!!!) will get an additional version of "At The Bottom" which has a lighter vibe, acoustic and all.
on 2009-09-23 Archelon Said:
A truly AWESOME album - worth it's weight in gold, musically speaking. I'll echo Brian in that I'm sorry you beat me to it! Excellent review though, very well done.
God what a stunner. Don't think this will leave my headphones for quite some time.
on 2009-09-23 hstisgod Said:
My rating is for review and record... wow...Brand New has managed to travel to the self-respecting edge and yet harness enough control to make the pinnacle of their career. Fudge Kev, you beat me to it, and quite honestly I deserve it, I didnt even remember the release was today until just a bit ago... have listened to it once, and am in an energetic trance of beat.
My favorite descriptive?
"It is honest yet abstract; dark but not weighted in sadness; and an encompassment of a wide range of human emotions without pretension or melodrama."
As always, you are on the money my friend. As I told Seanie earlier tonight, Daisy is the mincing of TDAGARIM and Favorite Weapon and Im proud to say so..Glad you got the review!
on 2009-09-23 kev_stev Said:
i can't believe how good this album really is. i liked "Devil and God" but didn't think they could ever pull off something like this. utterly flawless so far.
on 2009-09-02 michael_bird Said:
Got the album on pre-order mate, getting the vinyl too.
on 2009-09-02 hstisgod Said:
No, dont get me wrong X, your principal is not in question to me...I know you'll support the band, I think my comment was more geared towards Michael, and other people who take the file and don't buy the album and support Brand New. My apologies if I offended you
on 2009-09-02 X_NaStY Said:
I just couldn't wait to hear it. I know it's probably "bad" of me to grab the album before it's supposed to come out, but I'll still buy it when it does. And, I'm gonna be going to one of their shows in a couple months so it's not like I'm not supporting a band that I like. I was just greedy and didn't want to wait. I just had to be one of the first people to hear it, I know that sounds selfish, but oh well. I actually read somewhere that the people who do get stuff off of filesharing make up the bulk of cd sales as well, so I don't think it's entirely a bad thing.
on 2009-09-01 hstisgod Said:
Michael and X, Michael I do not know, but I got to be honest, I skimmed through, and I dont wanna read a review before I listen to the music myself, is that self-ish?
I guess my question is are you guys getting this from file sharing oradvance release? I'm sure it all begins with advanced release screwing it up, but in a way, I geuss we're being bad admirers of Brand New when we get the music prior to their intended release. I'm not telling you guys what to do, only saying what I prefer...
on 2009-09-01 X_NaStY Said:
Great review, I actually did think to myself "Is this really Brand New" haha. I even had to check the only song I knew "At the Bottom" to see if it really was. I agree also with Gasoline and Bought a Bride as my two favorite tracks thus far. I also noticed the southern twang in a few songs and it threw me off at first but a few listens and it kind of grew on me. I really could do without that "Be Gone" though, it's just kind of annoying. Overall though, not a bad album. I really hope they don't break up. That would be awful news.
on 2009-09-01 michael_bird Said:
Coming three long years after the relatively well-recieved The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, Daisy is likely to surprise and confuse even Brand New's more committed fans. While TDAGARIM was a clear step forward for the band in scope and maturity, it's not immediately clear what Daisy is a step towards, or indeed whether it's a step anywhere at all. In much the same way as Kid A was Radiohead coming right out of left field, Daisy doesn't seem to follow on directly from Brand New's previous output, and will definitely take a few listens to sink in.
The band's ability to hit the listener with jarring dynamic shifts is on show throughout 'Daisy', with the opener 'Vices' lurching violently from showtime-ballad piano to hectic post-hardcore almost faster than you can say "Is this really Brand New? I think I got the wrong disc". Dissonant guitar features prominently here and most of the way through the album, along with Modest Mouse-esque off key harmonics and guitar squeals. Guitarist Vin Accardi was apparently a bigger creative force than normal during songwriting, giving Daisy a less structured, sparse feel compared to Jesse Lacey's more 'conventional' rock and pop sentiments.
However, that's not to say that Daisy is disorganized or incoherent. After three albums and considerable critical attention, it seems safe to assume that Brand New have consciously crafted the album as it appears, even if some songs seem oddly spare or unfinished.
'Bed', for example, threatens to build past gently picked guitars and the occasional odd bar length, but could be said to fizzle rather than explode. 'You Stole' is much more satisfying, subdued chords giving way to washes of fuzz bass and harmonized guitar wails. Texture rather than beat or melody seems to be the focus here, perhaps another sign of musical maturity from Jesse and Co.
A few tracks, 'Gasoline' and 'Bought A Bride', have made their way through acoustic demos and Youtubed live versions to their final form on the album. The latter in particular is a lyrical and musical highlight, with some particularly unsettling behind-the-nut guitar work from Vin.
One can imagine Lacey spent some nights since the last record with musician friend Kevin Devine listening to some more folky, even country records than Brand New fans might have in their libraries, an influence that floats to the surface on the droning 'In A Jar' and the brief, experimental 'Be Gone'. While it might be a slight shock to hear some real Southern twang on a Brand New album, such musical departures contribute to the overall threatening, emotional, and just plain DARK tone of Daisy.
The album rounds off with a suitably ugly jam on 'Noro', with Jesse proclaiming "I'm on my way out" (or something similar- incomprehensible lyrics are a feature of the album). This might lend credence to rumours of an impending break-up, reinforced by Jesse's repeated insistence that the album is about endings, deaths and "knowing when it's time to put something away and move on". Like I said, just plain dark.
Whether it's a full stop or another chapter in the ever-evolving story of Brand New, Daisy is a gripping album if it gets under your skin. As loose as it may be compared to the song structures of previous albums, no song feels like a thow-away. Fans of Brand New will likely appreciate the no holds barred aggression of Jesse's vocals, though it may take a few spins for them to get used to the new textures employed by Vin and his army or effects pedals.
on 2009-09-01 hstisgod Said:
I feel ya X...Im the same way...It didnt grab at first...something cookiecutter about it...But to their credit, I think every Brand New album is sort of like that.. only time will tell if I like to tell about Daisy..
on 2009-09-01 X_NaStY Said:
Wow, I could not wait to get my grubby little paws on this album. I don't think I've ever been as excited to listen to something as I was for this. Let me just say, it's not what I was expecting at all, right from the beginning. That's not to say its bad by any stretch of the imagination. It's gonna take a few listens to digest this stuff before I can determine if I like it or not. As a warning to others, though, this album is probably going to take you by surprise as it did me.
on 2009-08-13 hstisgod Said:
Wow, sometimes the simple truth is the easiest. I had no idea At the Bottom was available at their myspace, youtube and other sites. Thanks Xnasty!!
I enjoyed it, it seems they've reached further than they did on their last record. Its a bit over schtick and over slick. Which, I think we were all worried about, but it doesn't seem to be done in idiocy, rather tastefully.
Full break chords that explode, the creative static bridge works nicely I think. Lacey is not at his best vocally, but I'm glad to hear some back ups. This album could go either way. This release actually scares me a bit.
Either way, in my eyes, Brand New has become the Pink Floyd of our consumerism (lol). They never play songs to sell, rather to be ahead of the crowd, I've got confidence this album will kick a*s as did the last.
on 2009-08-13 X_NaStY Said:
Well it's on their myspace, I just listened to it like 5 times haha. It sounds pretty good!
on 2009-08-13 hstisgod Said:
didnt even know at the bottom was released!
on 2009-08-13 X_NaStY Said:
Holy cow, I didn't even know they were close to releasing something. This is awesome! Have they only released "At the bottom"?
on 2009-08-12 hstisgod Said:
on 2009-08-12 dscanland Said:
'At The Bottom'
'Bought A Bride'
'In A Jar'