Album: Deja Entendu
Jesse Lacey - Vocals/Guitar
Vincent Accardi - Guitar/Vocals
Garret Tierney - Bass
Brian Lane - Drums
Unless you've not yet read any other reviews or do not know French, "deja entendu" means "already heard." The title hints at the band's insecurity and would give the impression that they have nothing new to offer. This is only partially true: while Brand New does not redefine any form of music whatsoever, they happily mix their influences into a smoothie. A gigantic step forward from the sugary pop-punk-heavy Your Favorite Weapon
, Deja Entendu
showcases an honest-to-goodness growth on behalf of the entire band. Let's kick this thing off, shall we?
- Very much an introductory piece, an underwater vibe is given with minimalist musical accompaniment to the two-line lyrics. Nothing particularly wrong or right here. There is little more than reverb-heavy guitars and simplistic drumming with slowly fading vocals. It's just a simple, adeqate introduction to the album.
Sic Transit Gloria ... Glory Fades
- A song about a man who is at first unwilling for a quick fling but then gives in to the girl's wishes, feeling guilty the whole time (which seems to be Jesse's constant problem). Here is where the bass stands out the most throughout the entire album. When I saw them live, Vincent danced around throughout the beginning. The drums drive it home. Vocals are hushed throughout the verse as the guitar spaces out the background. It's the chorus that kicks you in the face before retreating immediately afterwards. That and the mid-section are very much so similar to some parts of YFW
. The video for this is very interesting, though not entirely relevant to the song itself.
I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light
- About the loneliness of touring and being a performer. Starts off acoustically. Drums and marracas come in before the chorus. Again, the chorus is loud, but more desperate than demanding.
Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't
- Delightfully bitter and sarcastic. It starts off with a simple guitar line matching the tone of both Jesse's voice and lyrical intent. This is about as close to "Seventy Times Seven" as this album gets in context to Mr. John Nolan. It effectively sounds like a conversation with all the anger internally but with a subtly bitter external voicing. Unfortunately, this is the third song in a row to fall into the "quiet verse, loud chorus" trap.
The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
- Another song seemingly about touring life but also a collapsing marriage. Starts out innocently enough, then quickly into a bombastic flood of power chords and a simple riff over a simple beat. Muted power chords drive this one along as Jesse's voice is in characteristically quiet "verse mode." Still, the entire song is very strong and works well as the first single. The video is mostly standard-fare, but captures the bridge part's intensity excellently.
The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
- A personal favorite. Regret and acceptance of being the guilty party in a failed relationship is the topic of this piece. Acoustically driven and slow-paced (almost like a Smiths/Morissey song), this is one of the most emotionally powerful songs. The hopelessness and selflessness in it is astounding without sounding fake or angry (except after the second chorus). Superb is the only way to describe this song.
Jaws Theme Swimming
- Lyrically, I don't get it. Maybe I'm too lazy, but in any case it's a story-telling song. The guitar is interesting in this, with the feeling of a cruise-ship waltz. This also falls into the "quiet verse/loud chorus" group. The chorus isn't simple chord-pounding, though, as it has a "dun DUN dun DUN" drive to it (terrible description, but it's the best I can do). Just in case the boys didn't show enough release with the other parts of the song, they have a soft/heavy part after the bridge to round the song out before diving into the chorus again. Aside from the guitar in the beginning, this one isn't particularly great.
Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
- Diabolical. Evil. Distressing. As far as I can tell, this is a song about a guy having sex with a drunk girl, doing the best he can to seal the deal. Whether or not it's rape, Jesse conveys a terrible terrible action perfectly, especially how affectionately he describes the event. He sings it enticingly and gently, hiding the intensity and "malicious intent" that the lyrics describe. The only downfall is that the instrumentation reminds me of "Soco Amaretto Lime" from YFW
- A loved one and a cancerous death. The title refers to the eponymous city in Spain which was bombed to hell in the late 1930s, immortalized in the Picasso painting. Its relevance is the nature of cancer, how it attacks unrelentingly. The music itself almost sounds like a cadence with emphasis on the drums. Perhaps as a metaphor to how quickly cancer can kill, the song ends with a sense of hope and power that just stops.
Good to Know That If I Ever Need Anything All I Have to Do is Die
- Being a bitch for the record industry sucks. Yet another "quiet/loud" song, but this one expands the formula with a pleasant breakdown that stretches almost to the seven-minute mark.
Play Crack the Sky
- This is a narrative of a ship stranded at sea at it sinks just past land, sending flares into the sky. The character in the song realizes what will happen to everyone in the cold water. Everyone is going to die, but it is expressed that the event should not be forgotten. A definite strong ending.
In the end, I still love this album. Even though it doesn't provide too much in the ways of instrumental innovation, I've always been a fan of strong lyricism. This album shines because of that.
3.5/5. No matter how much I love it, it is not flawless. Perhaps with more varied structure or style, it would be a perfect album. I can only hope that Jesse and company can fulfill their ambitions of creating something reminiscient of The Wall
, as they said they would be capable of if given enough time. They said this was a rushed effort. If they can do this well without much time, I cannot wait for an album with the clock on their side.