Thursday, September 24, 2009

review: Daisy Brand New

Welcoming a new album from an established band is like meeting your sister's new boyfriend for the first time. You know she's serious about this one and you want to support her, but you just don't know how he's going to fit, only that he has too. Sure the family will remain the same, but it will be different. Sure, your sister is still the same, and you can see why she likes this guy, but still how does he fit? Will he fit? He must fit.

It's the same with Brand New.
Daisy is their new boyfriend. The one they've been seeing for months and now want to introduce to the whole extended family. They've been developing and working and making and creating and finding themselves in this process to come up with something both brand new and Brand New. Eventually, we'll learn to accept their new offering.

There's no way any album can immediately be welcomed with open arms, we as listeners have to find the common ground, the creative leaps, a trace of the old in the new that has comforts.

I'm still sussing out that similarities and the differences with Brand New. A song like "Bed" is comforting...I know that rhythm, that cadence from a song like "Sowing Season" or "Jesus." That nice distant backbeat with tender guitar melodies and unbalanced lyrical insights has become the bread and butter of Brand New.

But so has interrupting those quiet moments. It used to come in the form of passionate scream or a voice that keeps rising and rising to a fever pitch of fury.

In many instances, Daisy loses those moments for a roughshod edge. "Vices" is a metal song, in the sense that it replicates the experience of getting hit in the back of a head by a jagged steel pipe while minding your business on the carousel and is probably a song At The Drive-In would have eventually developed. "Gasoline" is also structured differently, with its punked White Stripes/garage rock structure and its screeching feedback ending. To still call Brand New punk or god-forbid emo is to disparage all of rock's brethren, especially the grunge forebears.

Brand New is trying to find the next leap for the band, and the single "At The Bottom" and "Gasoline" portends that future as a night of the living Kurt Cobain or as Pearl Jam tribute band. Those influences aren't as obvious in the context of Brand New, only when taken as singles. Then you get a fuzzed-out classic almost country pick with "Be Gone" and the electric white noise exploration in "Noro." "In a Jar" is striking not so much for its intense off the wall chorus, but for its harmonious verses. Brand New now freaks us out not by its intensity and screams, but for its tasteful pop (don't worry, the 'pop' doesn't last that long).

this album is too lean for its own good. I'm hesitant to focus on the eccentricities of the album, but really that's what's here. Another song could have changed the whole debate. Daisy is slim and compact and so every nuance has an intense focus.
With such a limited offering, a song like "Be Gone" would probably be a throwaway, but with this thin album, I'm want to dissect it for all of its absurdity. And perhaps that's the point. It's not the length of the goodness, but the intensity of what is good.

The center of all this is essentially what we heard on
Devil and God and they may have chosen the devil. Overall, this album is more intense, more tedious, brimming at the edges of experimental audio (not the wandering, ambient type, but the odd, noise type) juxtaposed with Jesse Lacey's now trademark introspective lyrics on himself and the music industry. Though I don't think this album is as strong as Deja Entendu or even the last one, but I really think the band saw the dark side and decided to leap into it. This is not the Deja Entendu to Your Favorite Weapon, but is still a shift.

Daisy is the sound of Brand New's descent into madness, and I don't think they've reached the bottom yet.

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