Sound — 9
Right from the get go, you know that this is going to be a different record from anything Brand New has made before from the first track on. It seems to me Brand New have, for the most part, moved away from writing catchy hooks to trying to make some noise rock i.e. Vices, Be Gone, end of Gasoline. To me I think this record is an extension of an album that could've had "The Archers Bows Are Broken" as their first single. Jesse Lacey screams a lot in this album and does it well and at the right time. As a Brand New fan from the start, I can say I didn't expect it to sound like this, but I've been pleasantly surprised by some of the tracks on here. It goes without saying that most if not all of these songs contain amazing lyrics Vices starts out with a clip of a women playing some sort of ballad before going into a noise infested free for all. Bed is one of my least favorite tracks on the album, not because it's probably the slowest, but the track seems rather boring with uncommonly easy rhymes. At The Bottom, the first single, has an odd intro, but picks up into a great sounding chorus. It's a powerful that's worth a listen. At parts of Gasoline, I see some of the older Brand New come back. This is one of the tracks that a majority of it is Jesse screaming. One of the better lyrical songs. You Stole is a great buildup song filled with eerie guitars reminiscent of, dare i say, the Arctic Monkeys; well at least their new stuff, before heading into a heavier breakdown. Another great lyrical performance by the band Hands down the weirdest song goes to Be Gone, with it's 1:31 of eastern guitar and muffled sounds/vocals Sink is another song that features Jesse screaming. One of the best tracks to just rock out to. It picks up right away and the best word to describe it is powerful Bought a Bride is another powerful song that old Brand New fans will most definitely enjoy. To me this song incapsulates the sound of the guitar that they used for this record. Not very conventional but different. Now for my personal favorite song, Daisy. Im tired of saying it, especially after Sink and Bought a Bride however Daisy is another powerful song featuring smooth and soft guitar, great interpretive lyrics, powerful and percussion and bold vocals. In a jar, similar to Be Gone, features some eastern guitar influence and repetitive, rather odd lyrics. Another great rock track if you can get past the intro. The last song, and longest clocking in at 6:27, Noro doesn't seem it was written as a catchy song but at some times during the song you just can't help but sway to the beat. Then the track turns into some more noise instrumentation before playing the ballad from the beginning of the first track, Vices. To me that simulates a continuation of the record; a sense of how every track has a commonality and is connected in some way. It's clear Brand New was attempting to make a change in musical direction and they accomplished that and then some.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics have a taken a turn just like the music however you still can see some of the old with the new. Some of my favorite lines are just as clever as ever "You tried to put a fire out, but you used gasoline." Satirical biblical references like "Holding out for rest but on the seventh day, I've created nothing and I'm wide awake." or There's too many saviors on my cross again, I know I'm never going to be a perfect man." There seems to be a new theme in some of the Brand New songs and that theme is nature. This can be seen in lines like "Well if we take all these things and we bury them fast And we'll pray that they turn into seeds, to roots and then grass It'd be all right, it's all right." and "Little light, lead us through the night, and if we die, burn down the forest." Other than these obvious new and old themes, I can't seem to make much sense of some of the other lyrics at present, and Jesse's probably happy about that. But as is the case for all lyrics, they are open to interpretation so make of them what you will.
Overall Impression — 8
So to some up the new album I would definitely see this as a great change of direction from the previous record. This new record pulls you into a new, dark, and odd atmosphere that you fight through as the record goes. It seems hard to compare this new sound to anyone in particular but if I were to take a crack at it I would say there are some obvious Modest Mouse influences, eastern musical influence, and also large components of noise rock influence. The most impressive sequence in the album is hands down from Sink to Daisy, these powerful songs all proceed very smoothly and leave an impression.