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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brand New: Daisy

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

“We as people in a band do not exist anymore and in essence the band does not exist anymore. It’s just over. If we never got through this record there wouldn’t even be an argument or discussion about it. I don’t need a name or record label to write a song, I thought I did when I was younger but no one needs that, no one needs any kind of validation to create something. I don’t need anyone telling me whether it’s good, bad or whatever else. There’s nothing really about us that is Brand New anymore. It makes me cringe just saying it."

-Brand New’s frontman Jesse Lacey, 31, speaking with Rock Sound Magazine.

What happens when Brand New doesn’t want to be Brand New anymore?

They admit they don’t like touring, they’ve done one interview with an American Media outlet in the past three years (and don’t plan on doing anymore) and they cringe when they hear their own band’s name.

The answer is: You get Daisy, which Brand New has threatened to be their “last physical release.”

And in typical Brand New fashion, forget everything you know about them.

Their fourth album — to be released on Sept. 22 — like all the others, doesn’t sound too much like any of their previous releases.

In fact, Lacey, the band’s main songwriter, took a back seat to the writing process as lead guitarist Vincent Accardi wrote the majority of the album.

The album’s opener, “Vices,” starts with an awkward recording and then the listener is, well, I guess I’ll say greeted, with a screaming Lacey, which is a brand new (pun intended) direction for the band, who is never known for screaming, in fact, quite the opposite as they’ve always gone the pop or mellow route.

The first song is actually a shock to me. I’ve been following the band for nearly 10 years and never heard this much hostility from Lacey’s lungs. This now makes the second album of Brand New’s where I had to do research to make sure it was the same band. Upon first listen of “Vices,” I was scared. After a few listens, I was hooked.

Lacey hallows out on the first track “Those days are dead, forgive me.” Nothing they do should be unexpected and everything they've done before Daisy shouldn’t hold them to a certain responsibility.

Fortunately, on the next two tracks, “Bed” and “At the Bottom” the band go back to their roots as the former track is one of the softer songs they’ve ever done and “At the Bottom” is Daisy’s solid first (and most likely only) single.

The fourth track, “Gasoline,” gets back to the all-of-a-sudden-heavy-side of Brand New, although nothing gets as heavy as the album’s lead track.

“You Stole,” is the fifth track, and is the album’s second longest song at six minutes. It makes a return to the softer side and is a beautiful track.

“Be Gone” is beyond weird. It’s the sixth track and is only 91 seconds where Lacey inaudibly sings and the record cuts out intentionally every couple of seconds. Unique I guess, but what’s the point?

Tracks 7, 8 and 10, “Sink,” “Bought a Bride” and “In a Jar,” respectively, all start off slow but end in the new heavier fashion. None, I would consider bad and after repeated listens, is quite catchy.

Possibly the album’s two best tracks, 9 and 11, “Daisy” and “Noro,” are saved for the end (well in “Daisy’s” case, the near end.)

“Daisy,” just like “Bed” and “You Stole,” is one of the albums softer songs and Noro, the album’s longest song at 6:27 is so far, my favorite song on the album where Lacey asks why no one he knows can ever sleep or find peace while yelling out “I’m on my way to hell, I’m on my way out” throughout the entire number.

As I said in an earlier blog, there are a few songs on here that sound extremely Nirvana influenced such as "Gasoline," "Bought a Bride," and "In a Jar." (Not sure if the flannel shirt Lacey always wears is a coincidence or not.)

Upon first listen of this album, which leaked three weeks before it’s official release date (Hence, the early review), I was disappointed. However, after I abandoned it for a few days, I couldn’t wait to listen to it again. After several listens it is just as lovable and catchy as their previous material.

This album takes some getting used to, it’s different, no doubt, but it’s the album Brand New wanted to make, not what their fans wanted to hear.

And that attitude, as of the past half decade, has made Brand New who they are today.

They frankly, don’t care what people think of them. Hence the limited to no touring, hence the limited interviews, if any, to any media outlet of any kind and hence the different sounds on each album.

They never take the direction people expect them to take. Which I can respect. This album is bold, it’s courageous and I honestly highly doubt Lacey, or any of his bandmates, care what you or I think of it. As I pointed out in the opening blurb from Lacey he “doesn’t need anyone telling (him) if something is good, bad or whatever.”

In an earlier blog, I mentioned how Taking Back Sunday and Brand New have been my two favorite bands throughout the past decade. They’ve both released albums this year (and always release albums within a year of each other), both of them — again, upon first listen — I found disappointing.

However, the difference between the two bands is, Taking Back Sunday went towards a more mainstream and traditional approach during their song writing, so the album came off as what it is, bland. They took the easy route.

Brand New took a huge risk with this album and once again tried to not duplicate anything they’ve ever done before, which is what music should be about. And After many listens of Daisy, I find it surprising, catchy, melodic, and quite frankly, beautiful.

"Noro" *Note the song is 6:27 but this is longest version released online.



"You Stole" *Note this song is 6:00 long, but this is longest released online.


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