Brand New
Daisy


4.5
superb

Review

by Daniel Smith USER (21 Reviews)
September 15th, 2009 | 178 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A worthy entry into Brand New's lauded canon of excellent albums.

What makes an average day memorable? Well, I don’t care what your answer would be…but for me, for your standard indie-minded teenager brought up on pop-punk cheese and prog pretension, a Saturday night combo of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Brand New’s Daisy did the trick. Naturally, I was worried that both endeavors would fall flat in the wake of previous masterpieces from both director and band. But it was a night of glorious parallels. I was happy to find Basterds and Daisy to be challenging, rewarding works of art worthy of their respective canons.

I’m not going to praise Mr. Tarantino, though, as excellent as his follow up to the abysmal Death Proof may be. I’m going to praise Brand New. Formed at the turn of the century and spearheaded by mastermind Jesse Lacey, this band has excelled in the often-tiresome realm of alternative rock by means of reinvention and experimentation, an approach that has yielded for them both critical and commercial acclaim.

Over a career spanning the entire decade, Lacey and company have embraced a spectrum of styles. Your Favorite Weapon was a promising but forgettable exercise in pop punk. Deja Entendu set a new standard for Brand New, boasting clever self-aware lyrics accompanied by experimental emo music. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was an ambitious indie-laced melancholia trip with post-rock influences. In only six years, Brand New displayed a sort of maturity rarely seen in a band with pop-punk roots. Before hearing 2009’s Daisy, I considered Brand New to be the quintessential emo alt rock band of the 00’s. Guess what. I still do.

Practically every review for Daisy, whether positive or negative, will single out first track “Vices” for doing two things: effectively setting the mood for the album, and effectively dispelling any possibility of it being Devil and God part two. It’s true, though. “Vices” is horrifying. I haven’t been so affected by a soft-to-loud transition since, well, “Luca.” Within the first minute and a half of the album’s 40-minute runtime, Jesse is screaming his lungs out.

He rarely stops screaming, wailing, or shouting, either. Save for the brooding “Bed” and “You Stole” and the “Handcuffs”-esque title track, Brand New’s tortured leading man takes his voice to the upper registers seldom seen on previous outputs. But he doesn’t have to scream to give off undercurrents of emotion. All three of the aforementioned songs could have easily been placed on Devil and God without affecting its subtle flow.

The rest of the songs are quite visceral. There’s no doubt about it, Daisy is a heavy, heavy record. “Gasoline,” “Sink,” “Bought a Bride,” and “In a Jar” are all experiments in earth-shattering grunge. Feedback abounds, distortion swirls this way and that, and the occasional wall-of-noise whines mercilessly. And the thing is, the songs are all fairly short and to the point. They rev up, they demolish, and then they depart.

Don't get the false impression, however, that Daisy is a spastic mess, because it's not. Although grit is key to Brand New's formula here (think the noisier sections of "Not The Sun" or "Archers"), it is carefully balanced with more subdued, ambient parts. For example, "Gasoline" has Jesse Lacey letting go the reins as he embraces vocal desparation accompanied by instrumental chaos. But in an instant the vocals, the guitar, the drums, everything ceases, slowly leading into a minute of distanced ambient feedback.

"Bed" is even more relaxed. It's a dark semi-funky crooner complete with atmospheric effects very much in the vein of the band's previous studio album. Likewise, the guitar parts on the softer sections of "You Stole" seem to borrow influence from the dismal post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In this way, Daisy succeeds in blending downtempo moments into an album riddled with fire and passion.

Lyrically, Daisy is a bit of a letdown, seeing as Deja and Devil and God sported some wonderful verses. Here the best lines are short, dark, and schizophrenic (i.e. “Just say goodbye to the ground,” “It feels like I’m jumping towards a train,” “I’m on my way to hell.”) At first glance, these lines hold absolutely no weight to past zingers, but it’s the emotion in Jesse’s voice that makes these lines memorable and effective. So while many listeners will find the music and vocal approach to completely undermine any lyrical significance, this should not be the case.

There is no filler here. No, not even “Be Gone,” a foreboding southern track featuring frantically sliced vocals and a thudding beat. Those of you who found first single “At the Bottom” inferior should reevaluate; it sounds much better in context of the album. Also, those who criticize Daisy for mimicking Nirvana and Modest Mouse should chill out. Yes, there are some notable similarities between Daisy and In Utero, but any influence is worn only in homage. The same goes for Modest Mouse.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of Daisy, however, is its energetic three-track conclusion. “Daisy” has Brand New using electronic beats that lead into an explosion of drums while Lacey moans a string of self-deprecating lyrics. “In a Jar” is a monster of a track that blares, reverberates, and drones straight into “Noro,” Daisy’s own “Limousine.” “I want to burn down everything we’ve begun. / I want to kill and eat my young,” says a distraught Jesse. He then condemns himself. And then the song ends. And then a hymn-singing woman greets the listener in the same way the album begins. And then it’s over. Is this it? Does Daisy’s conclusion signal an end to Brand New? Maybe, maybe not. She loves me, she loves me not…

Overall, Daisy is a satisfying listen. It takes multiple listens to appreciate, and devout fans of the band’s earlier work will find it difficult to love. Think about it this way: I didn’t really like Inglourious Basterds the first time. I saw it again. Guess what I thought of it the second time. Exactly.

4.5/5



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user ratings (2630)
Chart.
3.9
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
JacobsLadder
September 15th 2009


554 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Basterds and Daisy make a sweet combination.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2009


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

always liked you

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 15th 2009


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

tru dat

Prophet178
September 15th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

My Favorite Weapon was a promising but forgettable exercise in pop punk


Your Favorite Weapon.

Chewie
September 15th 2009


4532 Comments


lol almost every review on the homepage is either for Brand New or Porcupine Tree

Prophet178
September 15th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review, but I disagree on both works unfortunately.

Drsmith4
September 15th 2009


1715 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean, it's understandable. Both Daisy and Basterds are love-hate affairs. Of course, Basterds is no Pulp Fiction. (I love that movie)

StrizzMatik
September 16th 2009


3188 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Review's pretty good, get rid of that stupid summary though

Definitely going to be about 5 more by tomorrow night

redsparrow
September 16th 2009


431 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Basterds rules.

ninjuice
September 16th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Heck yeah it does
Although I hope my opinion on it is a bit obvious.

DhA
September 16th 2009


421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review dude and I pretty much agree it's probably on par with TDAG, and DE too although since TDAG came out I barely listen to DE anymore

Kashmir09
September 16th 2009


772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I dig the summary as well...decent review, album of the year for me, Brand New just keeps getting better. Though I must say I don't see the Noro/Limousine connection, they connect in the fact that they're both amazing tunes, but nothin' else, maybe lyrically?

KritikalMotion
September 16th 2009


2261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol at seriousness

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

Waior
September 16th 2009


11451 Comments


Mhm.

Gyromania
September 16th 2009


15701 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

LOL! The Daisy is boring as hell to look at though

Maes
September 16th 2009


78 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So you still hate Inglorious Basterds?

Titan50
September 16th 2009


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED

Tempertemperature
September 16th 2009


154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Best review out of the three. Some errors here and there but nothing glaring. Great job

Mr_Coffee
September 16th 2009


631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review.

promiseswept
September 16th 2009


846 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

haha agreed with illuvatar. horrible album.



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