Review: Brand New – Daisy

daisyArtist: Brand New
Album: Daisy
Genre: Rock
Label: Interscope/DGC

It will come to no surprise to anyone whose followed Brand New for more than one album that their newest, Daisy, finds the band exploring new sounds and musical ideas. In fact, it’s something that’s more expected at this point than frontman Jesse Lacey being a bit more than reclusive from most press or closing sold out shows with 15 minute instrumental tracks that most people skipped over after the first time they heard it. In other words, Brand New being wierd is like Baseball and the USA, they go together and are expected. It’s not even a shock factor anymore, it’s just what happens.

That being said, there is so much more to Daisy than just a change in sound, but i feel that this may be the release in which some fans just can’t get into. This is where Brand New begins separating the “true” fans from the fanboys. So hold on tight, because it’s about to get [quite] heavy.

To really begin digging into this record, I feel we should first set up what exactly the “sound” of the album is which, in this case, may be a bit confusing to some. Deja found the band leaving the youthful punk tones of Your Favorite Weapon for a more mature rock meets mid-twenties emo sound that captivated listeners. Then, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me found the emo tear ducts being wiped away in leu of a more mature [and in a way throwback] rock sound with lyrics dealing deeply with the human condition and religion. It seemed the band’s sound was simply growing with the group and with that in mind, most thought this more matured rock vibe would continue onto Daisy, but in reality we have the results of what seems to be early 20’s angst colliding with the matured adults that now front the band. Few songs go by without [seemingly pointless] near screeching screams and squeals from frontman Jesse Lacey with the musical accompaniment acting like a bi-polar patient who can’t decide if he wants to be sedated or set loose to destroy the world. One moment we’re in a serene, deep, and enveloping rock sound, but just as quick as you get comfortable, the group explodes into disjunct punk chords and crashing symbols before once again calming down. It’s a circus of noise that you truly need to hold on tight to make it through [and I’m not saying that’s a good thing].

Now, with all that laid out, I’ll finally dig into the album more directly. Sorry, but with a record this dense, some setup is needed and once you hear the record, you’ll understand why.

Following a quickly forgettable sample that lasts longer than necessary, “Vices” kicks off the album with an instant display of the band’s new direction and sets the overall tone for the album. Broken up guitar tones and and a simple drum beat pull us in before Lacey comes out the gates screeching nearly in audible lyrics with crooning backup vocals in the chorus. there’s sure to be a near instant mental jump to the days of grunge, but that’s not the sound we have here. In fact, I wager even those still rocking the flannel shirts and ripped jeans won’t be too fond of this new sound. It’s obviously meant to sound very loose with the time changing sporadically for very short moments and the overall production sounding very “live,” but it all feels forced. I’ll believe the growth in sound over the past three records, but on “Vices” and the rest of the album, Lacey’s use of screaming does little more than distract from the overall album. I’m not a connoisseur of screaming, but unless you scream throughout your release, the use of the “angst” or whatever causes screams inside of you generally is expressed in the lines you want to hit hardest with the listener. However, on daisy, Lacey seems to yelp at various moments that serve no significance lyrically or musically. It has no purpose other than to be weird and that’s not art, that’s simply trying too hard.

The single, “At The Bottom” has an obvious blend of the group’s more youthful records with some more of the previously referenced grunge tones, and it works perfectly fine. In fact, this is most likely the highlight track of the album as it’s the only one that has cohesive musical and lyrical thoughts in it. Tracks like “Gasoline,” “Sink,” and “In A Jar” also suffer from this misguided attempt at changing the way we look at musical structures. I’m all up for creativity, but once again, there’s a fine line between being artistic and trying too hard and it’s more than clear which side the band tends to fall on with this release.

Then there’s the issue of “You Stole” which when compared to at least two tracks from Deja is about as musically original as the intro to Angels and Airwaves’ “Everything’s Magic” when compared to the beginning of Blink 182’s “Anthem pt. 2.” Listen, the simple strumming and chord progression allows ample room for Lacey to spew his often confusingly metaphorical lyrics on life, God, lust, and what have you, but we’ve all heard it before on the other records. Now it’s all come together, but not in a unique way. In fact, it comes across a bit more “copy and paste.”

I’m not saying this album is a disaster by any means though, as some tracks really do hit well, but it’s the sheer volume of the album that feels “forcibly weird” that takes away from even the most notable songs. “Bed” and “Be Gone” are captivating and intriguing, but at the same time, “Bed” feels like a TDAGARIM b-side and I think Mr. Jack White would have something to say about the sound of “Be Gone.” It’s unique for Brand New, but not original by any means.

I will be the first person to say Brand New’s first three releases have truly changed the way people like at the current “scene.” Each one challenged listeners and brought new fans to the band, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Lacey, once though to be young virtuoso both lyrically and musically, seems to have ventured past his own breaking point and spends most of Daisy delivering powerful, Earth shaking lyrics that no one fully appreciate as their given to us in yelps and apathetic singing that rarely rises above depressing. the connection fans felt on tracks like “Play Crack The Sky,” “Jesus,” and, “You Won’t Know” have been buried in fuzz and distortion to the point that you have to remind yourself it’s Brand New just to keep from skipping to the next track. Yes, I said it. I truly believe this is the point where people will begin justifying loving the album simply because of its source and there is absolutely no reason for that. It’s not impossible that Brand New created a barely above average release. In fact, I feel nearly anyone listening to the record will have a hard time defending it any differently. Is it different? Yes. Does that mean it’s unique, original, intriguing, or amazing? Not in the slightest.

Score: 5.5/10

Don’t like James’ thoughts? Check out what another informed mind had to say –HERE

James Shotwell
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8 Responses to “Review: Brand New – Daisy”

  1. Justin A says:

    This review makes me sad…because its pretty spot on :(

  2. James says:

    …the truth hurts.

  3. Guest says:

    So the Millionaires EP is better than this? Haha c’mon now.

  4. Alfio says:

    It’s just your opinion. Its my favorite Brand New album to date.

    And don’t ever use the term “scene” again. That’s worse than the abundance of typo’s littered throughout your so-called review.

  5. Daniel says:

    Congrats on saying what most of us are thinking about the white elephant in the room, mate.

    I love this band an all their previous records; can’t stand Daisy. To each his/her own. Well written and spot on review.

  6. droobert says:

    You have some typos James

  7. Carl says:

    You are a complete idiot.

  8. jc says:

    I’m starting to think that pitiful state of modern music these days has made us consistently settle for second best so much that we can no longer praise things that are out of our comfort zone musically. All of the bands releases have been appealing in unique ways, Daisy is no different. Sure, its a tough record to swallow but in comparison, it sounds better than similar bands who have been doing that style for the last 10 years. Besides, if you want mellow go buy the newest Jack Johnson CD or something…