Review Summary: I saw our sad messiah, he was bored and tired of my laments.
There's something about this album, how deathly affecting it is, how poisonously emotional it all is; it sounds dangerous, and above all, transcendent. See, from the humblest moments of acoustic backdrops and Jesse Lacey softly ruminating, to whirling crescendos of anguished screaming and guitar intricacy, it all feels so pivotal, so consequential. I'd normally try to refrain from interjecting my subjective stance into an album review, but that's another of the most powerful and alluring aspects of this body of work; Jesse Lacey writes about very broad and relatable themes, and this album could truly be the heart and soul of a generation, but it's so personal, so recklessly emotional and cathartic. What I mean to say is, this feels like an album for Brand New, the album they had to make, but by being so captivating, so honest and giving, it feels like a creation that we can hold aloft as a map of our own troubled inner thoughts and heartache, a vessel and an outpouring for YOU to hold deep within you. It's not like my other two favorite albums; it doesn't share the mindset of Sufjan Steven's sprawling and internally destructive Age of Adz, the at times gleeful acceptance of futility; it isn't like Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, with its assured and careful fragility and control. This is the sound of a band consistently fighting its way out of dark existential corners, every track lending itself to the overall atmosphere of despair and triumph, of rage and grace, and sounding better and more accountable for every whim Brand New doesn't hold back on.
Forget Daisy for a moment; that record is an entirely different statement than is made here, and not a representation, I believe, as Brand New as actual people, like me and you. It's too messy and brash and ***-it-all to truly connect to, too adrenaline-fueled for someone to be able to latch onto and hold forever. But this, this thesis of dark and light, this complexly written and thought-out introspection of love and death and faith and failure. What makes this album such an enduring album that is amongst all the musical strength of the album, Vin Accardi's ever expressive and intricate guitar riffs, Brian Lane's engaging and controlling drumming, and Jesse Lacey's piercing shrieks and intimate croons, the skeletons of these songs are the passion and depth of delivery in its themes and construct, with the music complementing it, while in most cases it would be the other way around.
It's in the way the chorus of Sowing Season comes crashing in breathlessly, a droning and chaotic desperation leavened by a melodic and soft bridge that makes the song better for being more dynamic and unpredictable. In Degausser, there are so many musical and emotional shifts that it truly feels like a turbulent ride through a troubled mind, a brash choir of existential conflict that leads into Lacey tearing his vocal chords apart and then backing off into a slightly tongue-in-cheek and reigned in bridge and outro. But nowhere does the essence of this album more exist than in centrepiece Limousine, a cinematic post-rock journey of emotional highs and lows and crests and swells. The bruised spirit of all that this means, of all that this can hold and explain about the human condition, is displayed in a morphing wreck of a song, all the weight of the world resting in its tension and amazement at the suffering of guilt, all finally released at the end with useless and frustrated guitar feedback. It's the kind of release that this album thrives on, a careful explaining and then bloodletting of all we as disconnected humans go through. The suffering may not be our own, but we can use it as a guide to connection, and not feel quite as alone. Because see, dammit, this is for all of you.
Yeah dude this is a great review. You hit the nail right on the head, I didn't expect much from the way you formatted it tbh, it could use some spreading apart but unfortunately people have had trouble editing their reviews lately.
Bad timing for a Devil & God review, right after a troll review, and right after an insane surge of D&G reviews over the past few months, shit's gettin played out, that's why I didn't expect anything from this review.