Tuesday, November 21, 2006

album of the year? maybe?

Brand New
"The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me"

The day is here. The arrival of the new Brand New album. Self-processed emo kids can finally breathe. And the album itself?

There's much to be said about the album that took nearly three years to be released. For one thing, following bands such as Switchfoot and Eisley, it's a decidedly very Christian rock album, particularly the imagery in the song "Jesus Christ," which has more to do with the iconography of the man and his message.

Then there's the vast stylistic growth from 2001's "Your Favorite Weapon" and 2003's "Deja Entendu." In a preview post from last week, I labeled the band's music as "bombastic, escapist pop" and now having heard the entire record, I think I may have coined some sort of review cliche to be used from here on out.

One of the most powerful elements of the band was their lyrics, which still appears to be as strong as before, but the music has gotten a complete overhaul. The aformentioned "Jesus Christ" has an intro that is basically lifted from Death Cab for Cutie's "Technicolor Girls;" "Not the Sun" is a faster ditty that refines the rapid punk moments of The Pixies. Yes there will be many comparisons to various bands that've shaped music culture within the last two decades, but Brand New has successfully borrowed from all of them.

At its musical core, "The Devil and God..." is a frantic album -- while loud and fast in some parts, it's quiet and reflective in others; it follows your standard pop trappings of catchy choruses, while other tracks have hardcore breakdowns. It's obvious that the guys in this band have a broader musical palette than your typical pop-punk fan.

In a lot of ways, this record will change the way that message board kids and Fall Out Boy rip off bands make music, just as "Deja Entendu" got them listening to Bright Eyes, "The Devil and God..." will cause a rise in pedal sales and dozens upon dozens of bands will cite Failure, Mineral and Owen as their primary influences, though they probably never heard of them before 2006.

Of course, my predictions could just all be hyperbole and I may be overpraising a record that I'll get sick of in a few months. But for this moment, this is the best album I've heard in a long time.

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