Brand New
Daisy


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
September 2nd, 2011 | 245 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've tried. God knows that I've tried.

That part in “Vices,” when the album slugs you in the face after forcing you to strain your ears and think ‘Dear God, what is this bullshit?’: that’s it. Daisy is broken and Daisy is violent. It is not romantic and it is not particularly deep. It’s this writhing, bitter little record, obsessed with mortality as if the thing were breathing down its neck. Death is all over Daisy, and not in the contemplative way it appeared on Devil and God, as a little girl from a headline or as an afterthought in the subconscious of “Handcuffs.” It’s too immediate here. The stakes are higher. There are no qualifiers, no questions. Nothing heady. Just maudlin absolutes, delivered in an aggressive, vilely folksy twang, occasionally screamed like its deliverer’s intestines are being torn from his stomach. And still, having adopted this guttural, fuck-it demeanor, Daisy sounds alive, like Brand New out of their skulls and indulging in what’s visceral rather than existential.

Perhaps that’s why it was black-sheeped upon arrival. Its insight is bleaker than the lovesick albums from the Brand New we grew up with. But Daisy aged beautifully. It’s fascinating; Devil and God is certainly their most accomplished work, but it’s this, this dirty thing that endures. Not because it’s a particularly “artful” record; it’s a little too combative for that. What it is is a lyrical goldmine, but even then in a blunt, not always poetic way. “You wanna sink so I’m gonna let you.” “It feels like I’m jumping towards a train.” “I’ll carry this box to its proper place, lower it down, and let you fade away.” Simple sentiments sold by the record’s disposition, obvious metaphors delivered with no trickery. Cryptic symbolism and character avatars, hitherto trademarks of Brand New’s metaphoric loft, simply aren’t a part of Daisy.

It’s a sign of maturity. What’s thrilling about Daisy is that whereas Devil and God has a tendency to get opaque, Daisy has no qualms about its conceit. The band’s caustic wit survives through to Daisy, but their self-loathing does not, and in its place is a desperate, stylized rage. The general “You” that’s drawn Brand New’s ire for three albums is here viciously torn apart. This isn’t a new thing; vitriolic anger can be found across Brand New’s catalogue. What separates Daisy is that Daisy shows no remorse for being what it is. It is without an introspective counterpoint to win you over to Jesse Lacey’s side. It has no “Jesus.” And without guilt or caution, the record has very little baggage. As a result, Daisy is very much in the now, out of romanticism and into reality, constantly in overdrive.

The anomaly, of course, is the infamous chopped-vocal interlude “Be Gone.” Daisy is not perfect. It has its stumbles and its dings. But perfection isn’t its objective. “Be Gone” is the one moment of Daisy where the record pauses, bridging the downward bend of “You Stole” with the record’s crushing finish. And in the spirit of Daisy, it is ugly, unsettling, and yes, unpleasant. That’s the record’s design; it’s warts-and-all. In a way, it’s endearing. “Bed,” maybe “In a Jar,” and half of “You Stole” kind of suck, and Brand New might even know it. How else to explain how vital these tracks are to the record’s continuity? Versus the record’s real meat, here defined as “Bought a Bride,” “Daisy,” “Noro,” “Vices,” “Gasoline,” “Sink,” and “At the Bottom,” these songs deliver a shift in tone necessary to highlight Daisy’s climaxes. This isn’t apologist; listen to the way the album just drops from “Vices” to the midtempo monotony of “Bed.” It’s jarring, but it’s a crucial reprieve from “Vices’” intensity, revisited at “At the Bottom” and “Gasoline.” Similarly, the break from the hookless chorus of “In a Jar” to the single string introducing “Noro” knocks the listener from glazed to engaged with the album’s stunning finale. It’s a move that’s Daisy specific; on no other Brand New album are the clunkers- existent on every one of their albums, let’s admit it- this important.

One can say a lot about what’s “wrong” with Daisy, but there’s also a lot to be said about what’s “right” with Daisy, and the struggle gives this thing life. Its highs- take your pick, there are about fifteen of them- are stratospheric. Its flaws, in character and occasionally in construction, they’re the point. In that way, there’s something human about it. It speaks to a different mindset, one that’s fractured, bitter, jaded by experience, willing to attack heartbreak with venom. It’s why Daisy survives, even as the monolithic Devil and God starts fading into a memory. Its scars lend it soul. To be able to see those scars on display reflected back to us with pride, without regret: that’s it. Oh man, is that it.



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user ratings (2706)
Chart.
3.9
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2011


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thank you channing for making me want to get off my ass and write this

Enotron
September 2nd 2011


7695 Comments


oh bruder

ohfoxxxycole
September 2nd 2011


4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yes

cvlts
September 2nd 2011


8987 Comments


have never listened to these guys

SmashingPumpkin
September 2nd 2011


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review is pretty much spot-on with how I feel about Daisy after two years. It's so raw and in your face and that's what I love about it. It's ugliness is what makes it so special.

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2011


10599 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

what is going on

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

paxman
September 2nd 2011


4084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review.

Enotron
September 2nd 2011


7695 Comments


wack album am i right rudy

dertyharrie
September 2nd 2011


17 Comments


And not a single fuck was given on this review

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2011


17231 Comments


album owns.

foreverendeared
September 2nd 2011


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's growing on me a bit.

dertyharrie
September 2nd 2011


17 Comments


You must be thinking about Devil and God Blah blah

Because that's growing on me like hell

Tyrael
September 2nd 2011


20980 Comments


Why are the staff suddenly writing all these totally unnecessary reviews for old albums?

dertyharrie
September 2nd 2011


17 Comments


Because the staff feels like suddenly making reviews of old albums is KOOL? I mean, Med57 did it so he's cooler than shit right?

ahahahahga

foreverendeared
September 2nd 2011


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"You must be thinking about Devil and God Blah blah"

No, I'm thinking of this album.

mallen-
September 2nd 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome review

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2011


17231 Comments


probably because writing for new releases all the time gets really fucking boring when there's no real emotional attachment to the album and writing about things you connect to is a lot more fulfilling. that might just be it. who knows though?

foxblood
September 2nd 2011


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

so well written. wish there were more reviews like this

NorwichScene
September 2nd 2011


1527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album sucks!

Skoj
September 2nd 2011


1267 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great write up, agree 100% with it.




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