Fine Day Sunday

in my opinion, best day of the week

Brand New Month – Part 4 of 4: Daisy

Posted by finedaysunday on August 25, 2013

For Jesse Lacey, Daisy represents a fulfillment of the journey that led Brand New through the troubled landscapes of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. It’s fitting that Daisy most closely resembles that album from a thematic perspective. It approaches similar material, ranging from spiritual crisis and disillusionment to desperate and impotent fury at crumbling relationships. The difference may be that in searching for the answers, Daisy brings with it a sense of finality to the struggles that the band’s previous work was only just beginning to set up. Maybe the answers aren’t as easy or as rosy as we’d like. Maybe Daisy represents Brand New coming back down to Earth.

Brand New 4

The juxtaposition at play with Daisy may very well be that its relatable, human subject matter doesn’t always gel with its occasionally alienating and distant sound. This is a raw mix of instability, with tracks like “Vices” and “Gasoline” that seem more suited to violent moshing than quiet introspection. Remember the contrasting uses of sound levels in the last album? Here, the extremes tend to be pushed a few degrees further. The distortion is heavier. Lacey’s yelps of despair lend many tracks a less structured and rhythmic vibe.

I can very clearly remember my first impression of Daisy being “loud and sloppy”, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that until several more listens. This album was just as difficult to digest as T.D.A.G.A.R.I.M. Just when I thought I knew what to expect from these guys.

It’s not all pure chaos, of course. Daisy knows all too well that sometimes it’s the quiet moments in between, the ones that relieve the tension, that can matter the most. “Bed” and “You Stole” are both perfect expressions of that, and comforting reminders that Brand New are still masters of this use of dynamism. “Sink” boils down the jarring roller coaster use of sound of T.D.A.G.A.R.I.M. to its purest essence. “Be Gone” is an innovation I want to see more of, chopping up and warping Lacey’s voice and setting it against some good old blues-heavy guitar. Really.

Choosing a favourite track isn’t easy to pin down, but I’ve always loved the confident and twisted swagger of “At the Bottom”.

At last we come to “Noro”. Something you should know about my taste in music is that an album’s closer can single-handedly define my affection for the entire work. I consider it every bit as important as the introduction, sometimes even more so. By now, I had become accustomed to Brand New albums wrapping up with something subdued and maybe a little unstable. Instead, the lumbering and sure-footed repetition of “Noro” manages to shake up that tradition while still posing new variations of the bigger and more difficult questions that Brand New has been craving answers to for a decade. My takeaway from “Noro” is that they may finally be ready for those answers.

And so after the delightfully volatile angst of Your Favorite Weapon, the sincere exhalation of Deja Entendu and the unexpected success that came with it, the unabated terror of the Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, we arrive at the biting, impassioned, and admirably grounded Daisy. In many ways, this signifies the end of an era for one of my favourite bands. Brand New’s discography is quite literally the story of a group of boys growing into men. It’s a uniquely fascinating thing to behold, especially if you listen to these four albums consecutively as I so often do.

Jesse Lacey has gone on record describing Daisy as “like the end of a road”, the culmination of their ever-evolving sound that they have been working toward for years, but has also expressed a desire to explore other avenues they might have taken at earlier junctures in their career (a sort of “timeline split”, if you will). In other words, if Daisy is the ultimate expression of the goals that Brand New’s work has been leading up to, what might they have sounded like had they followed some of, say, Deja Entendu‘s headstrong indulgences instead? That’s purely wishful thinking on my part, but what is certain is that we haven’t heard the last of the boys from Long Island, and that can only be a good thing. Thank you for following along with me for Brand New Month. It’s been a thoroughly rewarding experience, and I hope you’ll stick around for whatever comes next.

“I’m a mountain that has been moved.”

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