Brand New – Daisy

The mind of the artist it seems, can be a terrible, terrible place. Both Jesse Lacey and Vin Accardi, primary songwriters for Brand New,  and one time artisans of pop-driven punk songs, have reached the proverbial fork in the road where an artist struggles for definition. Their craft has progressed in a forward motion since Your Favorite Weapon, honing their material into some of the best in bitter emotional introspection highlighted by albums (depending on who you ask) described as the genre’s apex (2003’s Deja Entendu in this case). Progression then, was inevitable, 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me proved that they could fuse together their painful heart sleeves with more cerebral rock; venturing away from standard chords for more esoteric territory. Yet while they did dispose of the “pop punk” element of their sound, their melodic streak kept intact- and we got songs like “Jesus Christ” and “Archers” and the rather magnificent and provoking “Limousine.”

This brings us to Daisy, a record with distinction of being both beautiful (“At the Bottom”) and a complete directionless mess (“Noro”, “Be Gone”). Perhaps this cloud in which we all reside in has Lacey and Accardi thinking that progression and forward thinking is the only way towards acceptance. Or are they just bored? Songs tend to sound unfinished or at best, completed in a creative haze- fighting hard to find new ground with fear of regression. It sounds messy. Cluttered. That piercing balance between lyrical histrionics and razor sharp subtlety has been sacrificed for art rock noise, and art is overrated. We can only hope their artistic creed does not include or become associated with words like “experimental” and “prog”. Seriously, it’s okay to be good at something and stick to it. Would it be such a tragedy if they wrote another Deja Entendu? Maybe they should dig deep into their record collection and find Screeching Weasel’s Boogadaboogadaboogada! (I’m sure one of them has a copy somewhere) and skip over to track #9 (it’s the sentiment baby!). It’ll do them some good. In the meantime, Daisy isn’t all bad. A very generous “pretty good” that comes with a ‘caveat emptor.’

(Interscope)

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