Review Summary: This is a great album if you remove the pop punk element
If there's one thing I've never understood, it's pop punk. I mean I get it's purpose; it was made in the 90s for kids to dance to, basically. But why the need for a comeback? I can appreciate Brand New's love for the music even if I don't especially appreciate it, but why Jesse Lacey needed to inject his interesting dark punk with it I'll never figure out the answer. The songs here for the most part are great if you strip away all the awful pop punk, they're certainly passable. Like Millstone has the darkest bassline of all time that would give even Flea a run for his money. But the whole album has a poppy background that I can't ignore, it's like when a fly flies right into your ear and you have to spend twenty minutes trying to get it out.
Now to be fair all the instruments are played well and Lacey is quite the talented singer vocally. But his screaming and lyrics annoy me to no end; he's not even a screamer so why pretend like he is? Its the same reason Keith Urban gets on my nerves, you're from Australia, not rural Tennessee! And Lacey, you're a crooner not a screamer, so act like it. Lyrically he's not much better. What is Luca supposed to mean anyway? I get that he's a guy from the Godfather, but what is "drink up the entire ocean" even supposed to mean? He just picked words that sounded cool; pretty lazy if you ask me, Lacey.
There are a couple highlights though: the choir, effect in You Won't Know's verse is very well-done, so props on that one. It adds a much needed coolness to the dark pop punky sound of the rest of the album. Jesus Christ has some pretty great lyrics but is ruined by an annoying guitar line that repeats and runs through the entire song, and for Sowing Season, the opposite is true: the music is great, but the lyrics are confusing as all hell. I don't know what's even going on in the verses, the lyrics are a mess. Overall, it's a pretty decent album, but nothing I'd go out of my way to listen to, and only listen to it if you can look past annoying pop punk droning and bad screaming from time to time.
I walked out on Brand New when they played with Thrice a couple years ago, my quote as Sowing Season started, "Oh god, it's about to get real gay and emo up in here" and even then I would think this review is absolute shit.