Brand New
The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me



by Rob Marais USER (2 Reviews)
April 24th, 2013 | 117 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The night's hard to get through.

Loneliness, it seems, has found a voice. Mortality, regret, isolation: all these themes find their way in; they dance and mingle and burrow in through your ears as the album progresses. Feelings are important here; they make up the majority of this album’s message, this juggernaut of emotion that drives at you from the opening line of “Sowing Season” and refuses to let up long after the faint guitar lines of “Handcuffs” fade away.

In the words of DeLillo, longing on a large scale is what makes history; it drives us, it motivates us – but here, all longing relates to alternatives, to what could have been, to what might yet be. Contemplative, regretful and downright depressing, Brand New have created their magnum opus – and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

A criticism often leveled at this album is its overarching sense of depression; this is not a happy record. Death, remorse, love and loss are all equally prevalent – and the unifying factor, above all, is sheer loneliness. It’s despondent, it’s bitter – but the themes, quite unlike this album’s successor Daisy, present themselves through reflection and self-analysis. These are songs for lonely nights in the dark; for breakups; for heartbreak and ache – but songs to heal to; to find consolation and slowly move on.

I used to pray like God was listening/I used to make my parents proud
I was the glue that kept my friends together/Now they don’t talk and we don’t go out

This part of Millstone, when the sheer pain in Jesse’s voice finally begins to show is when The Devil and God starts to come into it’s own – he speaks of a past life and past happiness, and his condemnation; his isolation is so complete that he feels even his God has deserted him. Ideas of faith and religion are scattered throughout the record, intermittently hopeful, but overbearingly dismissive. The third track on the album features a direct dialogue to Jesus – here, Jesse is demonstrating such hopelessness and isolation that the only person he has left to speak to is a God he fears no longer cares. As well as addressing death and the afterlife, the lyrics touch on the outcome of our religion – if Jesus did indeed die for our sins, Jesse seems to ponder, why did it simply “turn out a hate factory”?

Death is the main topic on the album’s longest song “Limousine”, over 7 minutes dedicated to the death of a young girl named Katie Flynn. Jesse sings from all possible perspectives of the tragedy; from the girl’s mother to the drunk driver that ended her life. The song deals with closure and loss, and reaches a peak with the repeated refrain: “I love you so much, do me a favour baby, don’t reply, cause I can dish it out, but I can’t take it”.

In the middle, following on from “You Won’t Know”, the album strays into an instrumental song, and although often dismissed as unimportant, or possible “filler”, it seems to provide a bridging point between two sides of the album: the opening six songs filled with loss and remorse, and those that remain – following on from it, themes become more pensive and reflective, but carry a stronger sense of momentum; of drive. Whilst death stalks the opening six songs, it seems more an afterthought here – if the start is the anguish, then this is an attempt to counter it.

Not the Sun seems more immediate; it carries less of a depressing vibe, and is probably the most “positive” track on the album. The lack of a slow intro allows the song to come across as more urgent, and less depressive – it carries its point forward with momentum, not depressing. This, however, is countered by Luca, which drives a similar feeling of sudden, oncoming emotion similar to Limousine; if there’s one thing Brand New do exceptionally well, it’s the soft to loud transitions. Here, the polar opposites between calm reflection and heart wrenching anger and grief are clearly represented: this explosion is the closest Jesse comes to completely losing his mind.

The remaining tracks seem to segue back through calm and reflection; a second instrumental track allows us to catch our breath, before pushing back on with urgency, and the album closes with reflection, with poignancy: “It’s hard to be the better man/When you forget you’re trying/It’s hard to be the better man/When you’re still lying”.

Plug in your stereo and crank up the volume. Place the CD into the tray. Pull down the blinds; turn off the lights. Settle back; press play; relax, absorb and understand. Think; reflect. This is a piece of art best taken in all at once to truly understand the meaning; the odyssey. Focus on the vulnerability of human nature at play; on the desire for closeness, the fear of being alone. Play it through; think, reflect. Allow the final bars to fade away.

What did you learn tonight?

user ratings (4626)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Adam Knott EMERITUS (4.5)
    The devil's stopped winning....

    SowingSeason STAFF (5)
    Breathtaking, magnificent, and compelling. Brand New’s crowning achievement as one of t...

    Channing Freeman STAFF (5)
    Settle, baby....

    Jorn van Schaïk (4.5)
    Do I divide and fall apart?...

  • Robby Roark (The Sludge) (4)
    Long awaited follow-up to Deja Entendu is darker, edgier, and damn right good on this Inne...

    Ty (5)
    I often think of you. Yet, rare is a night in these times where I let your sound be heard....

    Alxander19 (5)
    I saw our sad messiah, he was bored and tired of my laments....

    Ciaran McManus (5)
    Brand New realise the potential they've been threatening us with for years....

  • soleiletlune (4)
    Spiked with some unusual guitar effects, vocal lines, and unexpected turns, The Devil And ...

    musicandwords (5)
    Completely dazzling, fulfilling and layered album that was well worth the wait....

    Christopher (4.5)
    Brand New's Magnum Opus...

    Ian (4.5)
    Brand New pushes the envelope to the best of their ability in order to create a more sophi...

  • Marc Wells (5)
    The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is surprising to say the least. I knew these guys h...

    6604 (4)
    Brand New returns after 3 years of silence with an album that is truly stunning....

    DhA (4.5)
    A breathtaking album by a band who have developed in leaps and bounds, held back only by t...

    Dr Hank Paulson (3.5)
    The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is an astounding achievement and will continue to b...

  • Quadrochosis (5)
    I can never lose it....

    kevin234 (5)
    This is hitting rock bottom....

    Mall (3.5)
    Sure as hell paid for that mistake...

    Kiet Truong (5)
    Brand New shows everyone that they are here to stay with their best effort yet....

  • Garrett H. (3.5)
    A random album never heard before turns into a brand new favorite....

    Andrew Walker (5)

    Idioteque (5)
    Music for people with big, fluffy hearts....

    Understanding In a Crash (2.5)
    Well if your interested in the "Jesse Lacey" show you'll probably find yourself right at h...

  • Blair Chopin (5)

    KTLL (3)
    With the exception of a few songs, you will know a track's progression by its opening chor...

    bnththespinlite (5)
    Wonderful album, impressed, and worth the wait...

    JackFr (5)
    You need to hear this album now. One of the most incredible pieces of art released in the ...

    yidnarc (3)
    This is a great album if you remove the pop punk element...

    crandynewman (2)
    it has sparks of potential to be a great album but the flame flickers out before the cd ge...

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

First review, so please be as nice as possible, although I'm not expecting a great reception.

Another note; I could easily have written twice the amount here on this album - a lot I wanted to say was left out.

Originally posted at, in conjunction with - both blogs inactive, all writing available at

April 24th 2013


Nice edit, andcas

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

is this the 29th review of tdag?

Green Baron
April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

dammit, i was going to write this. guess i'll go scrap it.

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Constructive criticism welcome, as always.

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5


Digging: The Danse Society - Seduction

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

It's been too long since we've had one of these. Way too long.

Digging: Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Damn son whered you find this

Digging: Drake - If Youre Reading This Its Too Late

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

hey man i appreciate the review

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

in all honesty though it's a pretty solid review I think, I only skimmed it though

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

My only big problem is that it goes through the tracks chronologically on the record. I have a problem with that because that's almost track by trackish and that's exactly why they used to do on absolute punk which usually kinda sucked.

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review but this album has too few 5 reviews.

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

tbt is fine if there's a flow to the review which this seems to have

the issue with tbt's is that they're lazy, where you describe the songs without making a point about the album at large

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Really tried to avoid doing track by track and just doing an overall review, but when I tried reassembling it to remove that element it just got jumbled up and.. yeah. Definitely going to try and work on avoiding track-by-trackish stuff for next review.

April 24th 2013


dammit, i was going to write this. guess i'll go scrap it.

Cause we definitely needed another 5 review for this before this one

April 24th 2013


Of course some will always claim ''here we go another...''

There could be a hundred reviews of a single album, and it wouldn't matter.
And it helps that this one happens to be well written, good job on your first review EddieMarais

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Okay, people need to get over this being overly reviewed. No one is forcing you to read this or comment.

This is a once in a generation album that has hit home for a lot of people. It's changed lives. Sometimes writing about something is a way of expressing your feelings. There are a lot of feelings attached to this album for a lot of people

as per the reviewer. Great write up for a first- timer

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0


April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

good review, by the way

April 24th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

this is excellent for a first review

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