I was a little late to the Brand New party. I only discovered them when the designer of my banner told me The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me was one of her favourite albums ever, and incorpated the cover in the artwork. Naturally, I was intrigued, checked it out, and fell in love. It is indeed a classic, and while I can’t imagine the impact it had while it came out, I could hear what made people love it. The intimacy, the passion, the honesty. It’s a record you can listen to when you’re having a rough time, when you want to remember the good old days, when you feel alone, when you want to cry. It’s a record people will use as a reference for years to come.
Then, this August, we suddenly had a new Brand New record, Science Fiction. The last one, their swansong. While some singles were released prior to this, nothing on this album really sounds like I Am A Nightmare or Mene. While those songs were more of a throwback to their pop punk past, this is older, wiser, adult Brand New. And boy does it sound good. It seems they decided to throw all conventions away, and do whatever they like. It feels like atonement, a last glimpse into the mind of frontman Jesse Lacey. A final farewell to fans that have stood by them for years, often in a fanatic way. When he says “this is the last one” in Waste, you know he means it.
I’ve listened to it numerous times now, and I think this is the best way they could’ve said goodbye. It’s graceful, subtle, an album not rooted in the past, but in the now, with no future to look forward to. It’s an album everyone can enjoy. It’s an album that cements their status as one of the great bands, one of the bands kids will pick up in 20 years or so and can still connect to. The emotions dispayed here are ageless, timeless. And while fans will undoubtedly be obsessing over every lyric, every easter egg hidden in these lyrics, your average listener can still just enjoy the craftsmanship at work here. There are great melodies, soaring guitars, a blunt honesty, but most of all, it breathes Brand New without sounding like a copy of themselves.
My favourite song is Can’t Get It Out.. It’s the first song that I made a connection with while listening to this album, and the whistled intro is so addictive, it’s just a great song
Brand New have found a way to please everyone on this album, while sounding exactly like themselves. And while it’s a fitting ending, it doesn’t make it any easier to think this great band will never release anything new. At least we can enjoy this album for the years to come, and revel in it’s greatness.