20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Brand New’s Daisy by JohnCassillo

Brand New's fourth album falls far short of all expectations

Brand New's fourth album falls far short of all expectations

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Brand New’s “Gasoline” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 12/20 Watts

On first listen, Brand New‘s fourth release, Daisy, is like watching your first child die in a fiery car wreck. It’s a mangled, noisy and gut-wrenching experience which anyone who has listened to the band for an extended period of time will cringe at.

From there, however, it does get better, albeit, not good enough to be mentioned in the same breath with any of their other albums. And that’s Daisy‘s largest problem on an album full of issues. It just can’t stand up to anything else the group has released.

From the onset, you’re shocked and nearly frightened by “Vices,” which consists of an ill-conceived sampling of Bertrand Brown‘s “On Life’s Highway,” followed by lead singer Jesse Lacey’s best impression of Glassjaw and Head Automatica frontman Daryl Palumbo. At least for the listener’s sake, and for the sake of the album itself, it only improves from this point.

Intertwined with the band’s attempts at southern rock and metal are small signs of what the band used to be. Stealing portions of their various sounds from over the past decade, Daisy touches on punk, noise, and a wailing, spacious sound sure to evoke images of Deja Entendu. Lacey and the rest of the band have been describing themselves as a “guitar band” and simply “rock” since about 2004. Though not always true, this album may finally live up to these notions previously only held by the band itself.

But amidst all of this band-redefining noise, it appears that the band has finally crumbled under two of their biggest influences, The Smiths and Modest Mouse. As much as they’ve alluded to these two acts in the past, they’ve never sounded exactly like them. Until this release.

Tracks like “Be Gone” and “Sink” are carbon copies of Modest Mouse. From incoherent shouting in between guitar squeals, and Lacey’s overall vocal approach, the two tracks might as well have been lifted from the Modest Mouse anthology. On every overtly-mellow section of Daisy, The Smiths’ influence on the track just bleeds right on through.

With Daisy, Brand New does not put in a terrible effort. It’s just not that good either. For a band that prides itself on being such perfectionists, the loss of their sense of melody, coupled with the completely unoriginal effort is too distracting to look past. They tried too hard, and ultimately, fell far short of all expectations.

— John Cassillo



Comment by Jesse Lacey

I do love Brand New so much, scared of “vices” though!

Comment by MazTheMoo

this is an incredibly poorly-written review that suffers from its writer’s surface understanding of the ideas employed. john’s summary dismissal of the album does little to help potential readers understand why it fails— he speaks of attempts at southern rock and metal, but never mentions where they’re present on the album. that might be because they largely aren’t there: intimating aspects of other musical genres in songwriting is not equivalent to attempting to emulate them.
moreover, john’s language is absurdly strong for such a half-hearted and (presumably) hastily-assembled review. the introductory simile is a perfect case-in-point: though the band now tends toward more sonic dissonance and dark imagery in their songwriting, the disconnect between this album and their previous output is not so great that listening to “daisy” for the first time will feel like losing your firstborn in a fiery car wreck. the associations are all wrong: it’s not your firstborn (a stepchild at best, as the music is not yours, but theirs); and it’s hardly a fiery wreck (more of a bad report card— their previous album “the devil and god are raging inside me” introduced the jarring and deconstructive songwriting that becomes prominent on “daisy”— and report cards only mean anything to vapid societal conformists.) additionally, to suggest that brand new is “stealing portions” of their previous material is to assert your inadequate grasp of the english more so than to say anything at all about the album. what portions? what songs? how can you steal your own music? the band’s name comes from the notion that nothing is new in music since every composition is derived from the finite lexicon of musical theory— there are only so many notes, and only so many ways they can be used before the elements begin to recur again and again. can we take a second to appreciate the irony of john’s accusation that the band stole from their previous catalogue in light of their views on music?
cassillo’s struggles with language continue when he asserts that two songs on the album are “carbon copies” of modest mouse. it goes without saying they are not. do you know what a carbon copy is, john? again, maybe your surface appreciation of music allows you to make connections between these songs, but you have to appreciate the tenuousness of these connections if you’re going to state them publicly. the notion that “sink” bears a strong resemblance to any particular modest mouse song— let alone represents a carbon copy— is comically absurd. i think you’re the one who needs to study the modest mouse anthology— “overall vocal approach” does not a carbon copy make (overall, fittingly, is a summarizing word.) also, here’s a tip for future reviews: don’t tell people how they’ll feel, tell them what they might expect to feel or be confronted with. “from the onset, you’re shocked and nearly frightened—” i wasn’t, and i feel i probably approached the album with a more founded sense of what i was experiencing, but thanks for trying anyway.
lastly, who reviews a brand new album without paying any attention to the lyrics? you act as though you’re hurt that the band is proceeding in a direction you can’t appreciate, and yet as a fan you don’t think it’s important to consider jesse’s lyrical imagery? come on. i’m writing this now because i’m offended on a number of fronts: a) as a fan of the band, i’m shocked at the inadequacy of this blurb (i won’t justify it by calling it a review any longer); b) as an english grad, i’m offended by the sensationalist language and lazy composition of the blurb; and c) as a writer, your complete ignorance of the album’s often-masterful lyrical content is appalling. i’ll admit brand new is not the most sonically stimulating outfit to ever grace the earth, but i appreciate the relationship shared between the musical and lyrical aspects of their output. their grasp of cadence is incredible, and to ignore their lyrical content is to ignore a fundamentally important aspect of their music. it goes without saying that content like this can severely hurt the reputation of publication like 20 watts— why the fuck should i care that they gave the new brand album 12/20 watts when i give who the guy who wrote the article a perfect 1000/1000 watts of shut the fuck up. it’s petty, vapid music journalism, and it’s the reason people pump shit into their ears and claim a love for art.

that forest burned.

Comment by taylor

I beg to differ very strongly. They have evolved and changed like all good artists do. They went from pop-punk to emo to more experimental and angry. I love all of their albums, including Daisy for different reasons. The Devil and God was radically different from Deja Entendu and it didn’t catch shit like this.

A true brand new fan will admire their artists changes and still enjoy the album regardless of it’s differences to their others.

Daisy is a powerhouse of emotion with beautifully experimental musical qualities. It shows their mastery of music and they’re willingness to push the boundaries of their music. It’s not a safe cd, but in current times like this nothing should be safe.

Comment by KC

“A true brand new fan will admire their artists changes and still enjoy the album regardless of its differences to their others”

So any shit an artist pulls is essentially fair game to you and a listener can’t be a “true fan” and dislike material that is subpar? I hope you see the problems with that statement. I’m a big fan of Weezer; I love the vast majority of their ’90s and early ’00s material, especially The Blue Album and its B-sides and Pinkerton. But that doesn’t make The Red Album or Make Believe anything but reprocessed fecal matter defecated into the pop mainstream. Am I going to ignore that? No. I’m going to criticize them like I am here, because I care about my favorite childhood band and I’m tired of their crap.

Calling someone out on the “true”ness of their fandom is one of dumbest arguments I’ve ever read.

Comment by vilbobag

To pull out the age old argument of pretentious music elitists almost derails your argument, sir.

To state simply, “I only like their old stuff” makes you sound like a close minded fool. If the Red Album had come out first, and their previous work hadn’t been there for you to judge against, you would probably still listen to it.

While I’ll admit, Daisy is not my favorite Brand New album, I’m not going to disgrace the inventiveness and courage Brand New showed in making a CD that was quite different from their previous work, to compare it to previous works. This album was meant to be different. They’ve changed, and so has their music.

Daisy did exactly what they set out to do. They wanted to make a CD they could jam to.
It’s noisy, it’s gritty, it’s wild.
I love it, and I love it alone, and with the catalog.

From the way Jesse was acting when I saw them in March, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was their last CD.

Comment by PersonalJetpack

This is the most sacrilegious thing I have ever read.

Comment by yourproduct

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