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Album Review: Brand New - Daisy

Brand New's fourth full-length, 'Daisy,' has been the subject of much online discussion on various music forums; especially over the past few weeks, as it was unfortunately leaked on to the internet. Personally, as a big fan of the band, I was more sceptical than overjoyed when first hearing 'Daisy', whereas other fans jumped to conclusions and declared it album of the year/decade/century/all time.

On first listen, it does not make for comfortable listening. Opening with 'Vices,' and a scratchy sample of an old fashioned song by a female vocalist, it springs to life with vocalist, Jesse Lacey, screaming and screeching his way through a messy number. However, much like the record as a whole, you get used to its incoherent structure that eventually, somehow, works.

After 'Bed', a dreary, rather dull track, comes first single 'At The Bottom'. I'll admit, Brand New are not a radio band and this, especially, shows it. However, it is the closest this record is going to get to providing a catchy hook. It showcases the overall album well as it has the quiet-loud-louder structure, which is seen throughout.

Next is 'Gasoline', one of the two tracks that the band have been playing live for a number of months. It is one of the more favourable tracks, with plenty of energy throughout and definitely one of the bands loudest and heaviest to date. Lacey's vocals will be screamed back at him, especially the line 'She tried to put the fire out, but she used gasoline,' at their live shows.

'You Stole,' brings the momentum down. It has a mellow, calm pace that, despite being layered, manages to suck the life out of the album and drags on for far too long. Whereas, 'Be Gone' acts more as an interlude than a full track, with its Southern country-like guitar and odd vocals that are delivered with a strange effect.

'Sink' starts the recovery of this record. Once more, Lacey screams his way thorough a chorus that is full-on alternative indie rock. 'Bought A Bride', the second track to have already been played live, ends up being one of the highlights of the album, with its textured sound and fierce beat. It shows the bands progression, and intelligence, as songwriters. Unfortunately, this favourable wave of aggressive rock, that sounds brilliant, is killed off by the title track. 'Daisy' shows the bands disjointed, experimental side. The use of samples and weird subtle sounds takes a while to get used to and, when you think the track is about to take off, it finishes.

'In A Jar' and 'Noro' save the album from being labelled a disappointment. The former brilliantly shows the bands layered style, and good use of the soft-loud structure, that they have perfected so well. 'Noro' rounds off the album perfectly and is a one off, if not, the highlight of 'Daisy'. It has a slow build-up, with a twining guitar and distant lyric, "I'm on my way to hell,” a lyric that will get lodged in your head straight away. Its structure is ideal and picks up pace at the right point, with scratchy guitars and distorted drums, that fit the mood ideally. In conclusion, it shows the bands' purpose as a progressive, alternative rock band.

As a fan of the Brand New, this isn't their best work but it could have been worse. The mellow, softer songs ruin the adrenaline-filled tracks. Tracks 'Bed' and 'You Stole,' to an extent, ruin the records momentum but, musically and lyrically, they are still listenable. Even after a few listens, they fit the records structure well.

'Daisy,' is a record by a band that are not going to write a one-hit wonder, and then repeat that formula 10 more times. Every track has its own characteristic, good or bad. It is a record that shows the bands progression from 2006's 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me' well. Its structure, at times, seems incoherent but that is what appeals to fans of the band. Brand New are willing, and are able, to challenge themselves, as both musicians and songwriters. By doing this, they make themselves less accessible and 'Daisy' may alienate some fans, due to its erratic structure when listening to it first time round. However, it is a record that you have to live with, and let it grow, in order to understand where the bands perspective is coming from. Lyrically, it is darker than its predecessor, but more energetic.

Overall, 'Daisy' is not record of the year, nowhere near. However, it is a record that is an acceptable next step for a band that wants to do what they like, and not conform to any trends or stereotypes.


'Daisy' by Brand New is released on September 21st (UK)/22nd (US) on DGC/Interscope/Procrastinate Music Traitors.

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Sean Reid

Alter The Press!