Posted by: will | December 27, 2006

Brand New…


Brand New “The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me” (Interscope)

Buy it at Insound!

Brand New burst onto the scene in 2001 with the incredibly ordinary Your Favorite Weapon. It was mall punk/emo at its core. But there was something there…a little glimmer of hope that this band might just be different. Well, they certainly were and they torched all aspects of their past and proved it on 2004’s Deja Entendu. Brand New had matured an entire lifetime in three years. It was a fascinating recreation of a band into something much more than anybody could have ever anticipated. The problem with releasing such a great record were the questions of where the band would go from there. Would their next album provide another complete transformation or a continuation in sound from Deja Entendu? Add to the equation the band inking a deal with Interscope for this, their third record. So, which way did Brand New go?

The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is a logical extension to Brand New’s sound. It’s certainly a more mature and expansive effort. I guess that is what a major label recording budget will do for you. While much of Deja Entendu was insanely catchy, this new album is much more subtle and meticulous in its overall delivery. That’s not to say that these songs are lacking in any way though…they just take a bit more patience to disect. But the infectious songs still find their way onto this record… in fact it is quite a perfect mixture of accessibility and intelligence. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me is a perfect title for this album as well. Lyrically there are battles going on…there is no doubt about that. But, often it seems as though the bombastic energy of the music and the tortured vocals of front man Jesse Lacey are at war with each other. It makes for a fascinating listen.

You can tell that Brand New’s influences reach much further out of the punk/hardcore realm than most bands born from the scene. Unlike most bands from that scene that continuously name drop The Cure and The Smiths, you can actually believe it in the case of Brand New. You can see the dark and moody, yet pop overtones seeping through. And just like those bands had a dominant front man to lead the way you can stand witness to it happening in the case of Brand New. Jesse Lacey’s delivery is so confident that you can not help but to compare him to such strong lead men. Lacey’s bitter lyrics are sung in such a fragile emotional state that you tend to worry about him a slight bit. But that only adds to the joy and wonder this album creates. Lacey certainly has some demons and he and those demons are quite simply what puts Brand New in such rare company.

It seems as though Brand New have shed all of their former selves. I have no doubt that was the band’s intention in the first place. Brand New have grown into something wonderful and unique. The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me sees the band expertly riding the fence between pop accessibility and making intelligent and thought provoking music. Brand New might have come from the same scene that spawned Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday but there is no comparison whatsoever. When those bands have been cast aside into the dustbin, I have no doubt Brand New will find themselves standing firmly on top.

RIYL: The Smiths, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters


Brand New – Millstone (mp3)

Brand New – Degausser (mp3)



  1. Degausser is effin’ amazing. Your reviews are right on point.

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