Posts Tagged ‘The devil and god are raging inside me’


Three years since Daisy: Why we’re prepared to wait for Brand New

September 22, 2012

Today a grim anniversary passes. It’s unlikely there will be many ceremonies, no minute of silence, no flags at half mast. There may be some tears, a hand held tight by a loved one, a melancholy head held in trembling hands – but these will be behind closed doors. Even those who do mark the day, uttering a quiet prayer to the heavens, will not wallow. They will pause, then move on.

September 22 marks three years to the day Brand New released their last album, Daisy. Scoff at my calender crossing if you like but worse bands have gone shorter periods of time without new material and had to suffer baying fans whining for more. And Brand New aren’t just any Tom, Dick or Harry, they’re the alternative music’s Lady Gaga. They too seemed to have developed a die-hard group of followers, a mature, music-savvy, discerning band of Monsters. Or Beliebers? No.

Brand New’s fans are not just people who like their music, but a cult. A flippin’ cult. Sort of. A cult that talks in lyrics and cuts its hair in time with Jesse. And these members of the cult have had three years of radio silence as far as tracklistings, artwork or studio time goes. But, while they might shed a tear or have a little sing-along to Bought A Bride, they would not dream of forcing Brand New’s hand prematurely.

This is not because they do not want more. God no, they want more. It’s because these fans (myself included, so, really it’s we)… It’s because WE are respectful enough of Jesse (Lacey, that is) and co and understand how delicate and intricate their musical progression has been from debut Your Favourite Weapon in 2001 to the present day that we would not dare ask for more than they have given us already. We are so smitten and feel so lucky to have been given a single album, a single song, a single note, of theirs that anything else is an invaluable bonus. Had Jesse (we are as close as we sound, sort of) decided to end YFW after seven minutes, we would have solemnly accepted his decision without protest.

But, with love comes fear. After 2006’s The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, an operatic tour de force, we were anxious for Daisy. Now, after Daisy, we’re cautious. We, the fans and the band, are at a crossroad. All thousands and millions of us are huddled together at this junction of musical life waiting with baited breath for someone in the band to pipe up and say, “I think it’s this way.” We will move as one.

The passion of Brand New fans might look bizarre and pathetic, and silly, and a little over the top, to outsiders, but it is warranted. Though the Long Island band’s incredible musical progression is widely recognised – from basement punk rock to introspective geniuscore – and emotional attachment to lyrics and themes is not unusual in such a genre, it is Jesse’s sincerity and authenticity in anything the band puts its mind to which has kept fans enthralled. I could reel off the clichés about pouring his heart and soul into the music and all that jazz, but it’s true. When the Devil and God demos leaked, Jesse and the band were so upset they scrapped eight of ten of the tracks and started afresh. Little sneaky extra album there for us. Shhh.

This might sound like the transcript of a drunken 4am monologue, so let’s try and conclude. When Brand New decide their route, we will follow. But until Brand New have picked up the pieces left strewn across the musical landscape by the self destruction of Daisy, we can have little clue what direction it will be. So ferocious was Daisy, so unsure of footing, so raw and scared, it is impossible to say what the next step in this musical journey will be. It is this uncertainty, which makes us willing to wait.

In Daisy’s title track, Jesse sings “if the sky opened up and started pouring rain, like He knew it was time to start things over again”. Daisy was a biblical flood, drowning everything that came before. The band have now been rinsed clean. And though it has taken time, and it will take more, I, we, Brand New’s Monsters, are confident their next step will be devastatingly brilliant.


Album of the Decade – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me

November 29, 2009

As the decade comes to a close, debate rages in the media as to what was album of the decade. Well, let me tell you.

The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me – The most intelligent, emotional, tour-de-force since Napoleon stormed into Russia then got a little upset. Ranging from shrieked guitars and vocals to the closest you can get to crying in song-form. This is not emo. This is ridiculously emotive music where the band have put their hearts and souls into a record. This is the album of the decade because it means the most.

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TDAGARIM is the most emotionally intelligent album of the decade. Brand New, within the space of two records, turned their sound from angsty-bored teenage punk rock into sinister, pained, truly emotive music. To define them as emo, or rock, or indie, or anything, would be inaccurate. TDAGARIM, written predominantly by frontman, Jesse Lacey, with a little help from lead guitarist, Vincent Accardi, consists of 12 tracks and one reprise.

The music is beautifully discordant – the realism in the record shines from an avoidance of squeaky clean studio songs. In my opinion, the strength of an album comes from the lyrics. Though the guitars and song structures are mature and diverse, the lyrical content and context is unbelievable. Opening track, ‘Sowing Season’, borrows from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If” and suggests the tremendous effort Lacey and the band put into writing the record.

Losing all my friends/losing them to drinking and to driving/losing all my friends but I got them back

The personal touches in the songs are what makes the album. It is not a detached piece of money-spinning – when the demos of the album leaked it affected Lacey greatly, and only two of ten of the tracks made it onto the released album.

Some have suggested the album is a concept piece charting the conversations and thoughts of a drink-driver, a victim, and victim’s mother. I think this is a bit off, but nonetheless the stories and emotion poured into the tracks make hairs stand on end. Single, ‘Jesus Christ’, sheds light on the depressing state of mind of someone struggling with life and death. The way the subject addresses Jesus is extremely powerful. There is a real sense of vulnerability and desperation.

I know you come in the night like a thief/but i’ve had some time alone to hone my lying technique/ i know you think i’m someone you can trust/ but i’m scared i’ll get scared and i swear i’ll try to nail you back up

‘Welcome to Bangkok’ is an instrumental interlude that holds the album together as a journey. This is the strength of the album – it is not just a collection of 12 songs, it is a story in 12 parts. The pained shrieks of ‘You Won’t Know’ leaves the listener genuinely terrified by what Jesse has done. Likewise, the suggestions in ‘Handcuffs’ are darker than Your Favourite Weapon ever was.

I’d drown all these crying babies if i knew that their mothers wouldn’t cry/ i’d hold them down and i’d squeeze real soft and let a piece of myself die

Reviews from other websites from varied from those you may guess only listened once – Rolling Stone – to those who must have given it thought – Sputnik. I am not being close minded, however, I find it hard to believe that any one who truly listens to this album can not rate it highly.

Words can not describe just how good this album is. The intelligence and innovation that shines throughout, teamed with guitars bleeding delicacy yet strength, make a musical masterpiece. This album changed the way that emotional music should be written. It also demonstrated that a band that struggles with its directions needs to look at Lacey et al for inspiration. Without a doubt, the most compelling, powerful album of the decade.

Vote for this as album of the decade below or here…or else. Nah, just joshin’… but really.