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Music Review: Brand New – The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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The last moment of the last song, “Play Crack the Sky,” on Brand New’s 2003 record, Deja Entendu, we hear a guitar set down, footsteps walk away from us, and then a squeaky door opens and shuts. That is where the New York rock band left us three years ago.

After hours of time spent Googling and Wiki’ing for the smallest scrap of hearsay, their fans can now forget about those months and years of waiting and wondering. It’s as if they only left them last week — okay, maybe more like 17 weeks — and they can all now revel in the art of taking apart the songs and picking out the best parts and curiosities characteristic of Brand New.

Three years with nary a peep save for the occasional surprise blog post or website change and here we have arrived at Brand New’s major label (Interscope) debut, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. With that long of a silence, one would think a band like these guys would have a thing or two to say – and they do.

Frontman Jesse Lacey and his mates, Brian Lane, Garrett Tierney, Vincent Accardi, and Derrick Sherman seem to have a lot of pent-up aggression nowadays. It may only be a style update, but the intensity of the vocals and all instrumentation is quite an escalation from back then. Make no mistake, though, this is not crazy screaming metal music at all, but thoughtful, emotionally-charged and very well assembled. Collaborating again with producer Mike Sapone, who has also worked with Straylight Run and Taking Back Sunday (look into these two if you're not already aware of the puerile history between these bands), turned out to be an excellent second choice for the group.

The first single released from TDAGARIM reintroduces the listener to Brand New. “Sowing Season (Yeah)” picks up right where "Play Crack the Sky" left off. Nearly a minute of acoustic guitar coupled with Lacey’s low, moody vocals before building to a powerful crescendo with the one-word chorus of “Yeah”. The song as a whole is actually quite beautiful in its power and the rest of the album is by no means downhill from there.

Every song is perfectly fleshed out, although some interesting production choices on some of the vocal effects (or lack thereof) on one or two tracks are interestingly hollow. But after a couple more listens, one realizes it just makes this real band seem even more so.

If Deja Entendu was a 4 out of 5, this new release is a 5 out of 5. Let’s just hope the band dedicates as much to their touring schedule as they did to the creation of this record. None of this “intimate venues only” garbage that bands like Incubus have decided to pursue.

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About M. Sterling

  • Nimi

    Brand New are geniuses and Jesse Lacey is the hottest thing since sliced bread….after you toast it for a long long time.

  • Sharpe

    My friends who are also big BN fans wanted it to be another Your Favorite Weapon, but why would we want that. Like the reviewer said, this cd picks up where Deja left off, like its a continuing story just with breaks inbetween. I just wish that the next part of the story would come out in like Febuary. ;>

  • I’m not that a big fan of rock music but I appreciate it. But since it is a thoughtful, emotionally-charged and very well assembled music, I think these guys have room in my listening preference. : )It would also be great if you could accept my invite to have your page done in our site and be featured as our artist of the week.

  • Erin

    this is the single most raw, gaping, unfettered display of emotion since NIN’s epic hurt. kudos to you jesse lacey. this took guts.