Every now and then, you lay ears on an album that blows you away on such a great level that it makes elements of your own life lose significance and/or help you understand them on a deeper level. It may not be the instrumentation itself, it may not the lyrics but the album just gets you on a whole different level. And even if you grow old of it, that period of your life can be defined by that very album.
Deja Entendu, french for 'Already Heard', was released in 2003 but it wasn't until 2005 where this work of Jesse Lacey and his boys first graced my ears as a whole. Previously i had only heard such tracks as 'Sic Transit Gloria' and 'The Quiet Things' and as great as they are, they were no representation of the album.
The album of 11 tracks fluctuates on different levels of emotion. From the slow soothing sounds of 'Tautou' to the upbeat dramatics of 'Sic Transit Gloria', from the calm aggression in 'Okay I Believe You.." to desperate reminiscent cries of 'The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot' and from the intimate provocations of 'Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis' to the calm ocean feel of 'Play Crack The Sky'. This album will take you on the clichťd emotional rollercoaster and when it all ends, you'll be left gasping for air, reflecting on what just went by and then grasping at the now petty reality.
Track By Track
Essentially an introduction, this track is slow and eases itself in with the fading voice of Jesse repeating 'I'm sinking like a stone in the sea, I'm burning like a bridge for your body.' The mellow guitar adds to the soothing flavour. Short and sweet.
2. Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades
Beginning with the upbeat catchy bass line, this song is a real pick up from the opener. Jesse comes in with his subtle almost conversative voice. Verses build up leading to the chorus where instrumentation kicks in. The scream of 'die young and save yourself' ends the chorus and the song on an eventual high. Lyrics tell of a sexual experience. Very good, vintage Brand New.
3. I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Light
Quicker paced song with acoustic guitaring in the verses. Chorus kicks in with full band. Jesse voice is very consolidating without exploding. Bridge is where this song peaks combining all the elements of this song. Lyrics are about the shortcomings of the touring life. Nothing special but far from skip worthy.
4. Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't
Don't let the corny title deceive you, this is one the best songs on the album. Slow, soft verses really showcase Jesse's calm aggressive vocals which perfectly fit the lyrics. Powerful chorus is contrasting to the verses and work to mind blowing effect. The soft verses-heavy chorus formula of Brand New is epitomised here and Iím definitely not complaining. A touch of class. Sublime brilliance.
5. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows
Classic pop-punk formulaic song though Jesseís vocals really set it apart. Quiet intro builds into steady verses which in turn leads towards an explosive chorus. The dual relay screaming vocals work splendidly and really define the song. The song reaches greater heights during the bridge, where Jesse loses it, and the final chorus, where another layer of vocals are thrown in to amazing effect. Lyrics seem to be of relationships. A showcase of excellence.
6. The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Using acoustic guitaring, this song slows the album down but that doesnít slow the quality. The chorus rests the music at some points, focusing on the lyrics to great effect. Jesseís vocals seem to relay between desperation and optimism and vocal modulation really define the song. Goes against theyíre soft verses-heavy chorus formula. Lyrics tell of a break up. Genuinely heart warming.
7. Jaws Theme Swimming
The song begins with a very weird yet catchy guitar line throughout the verses with Jesseís voice slowly building up. Choruses consist of strong dual vocals and aggressive instrumentation. Bridge carries on the aggression of early choruses, with final choruses having more structure. Lyrics seem to be a commentary on life. Special in a unique kind of way.
8. Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis
The majority of this song has Jesseís vocals and the only instrumentation at an barely audible level yet what sounds like would turn out into a tragedy works out well. Lyrics tell of a intrusive sexual experience, bordering rape. The subtlety of the song probably emphasizes the seriousness of the lyrical content. The song begins kicks in three-quarters of the way through with the song ending in a more powerful manner. The best things in life come in the small volumes.
The drumming dominants the instrumentation during the verses with Jesseís vocals modulating appropriately. The chorus takes a more aggressive approach with dual vocals. Bridge displays screaming attributes of the vocalists. A highlight is where Jesse sings a line with no instrumentation. A change in approach musically but seems a touch bland. Doesnít float my boat.
10. Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Need To Do Is Die
The song has a dreamy, hazy feel and sounds unlike most Brand New works. In case you think itís another band, Brand New returns for the chorus with aggressive guitaring and classic Jesse singing. The guitar soloing throughout the later parts of the song are a fresh change, as is the slow fade out. Is a bit on the long side. A breathe of fresh air.
11. Play Crack The Sky
The album ends with an acoustic track which Jesse has been quoted saying as his favourite Brand new song. It isnít hard to see why. Jesseís musical talent is really on show with his amazing vocals and his guitar work. The calm ocean feel is a work of genius as it appropriately portrays the lyrics about a shipwreck. This song gives me shivers down my spine every time and my hands down favourite track. Acoustic perfection.
So maybe I over hyped the album a little too much at the beginning of this review. I realized this after analyzing the album track by track, but thatís the thing. This album as a whole possesses that something, an X factor if you will, that just gives the album that edge and influence. Brand New will be releasing a new album later this year and from what demos that Iíve heard itíll be nothing short of amazing but the masterpiece that is Deja Entendu will forever have itís place in my cd player.