Alt Tuesday: Brand New

So there aren’t a lot of albums that I say “I feel like emotion x. I should listen to album y.” But The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New is one of those albums. Lead singer and primary song writer, Jesse Lacey, wrote the album when he was feeling depressed and stressed out, and honestly it covers those emotions just about perfectly. This is definitely my “bummer/I don’t want to talk to anyone” album.

The album as a whole draws largely on the influence of The Smiths and other post punk bands of the ’80s. But don’t be deceived. This is a very modern sounding record that draws upon two main sources to formulate its sound. There is the older punk sound that Brand New captured in their earlier records fused with the finesse that bands like Manchester Orchestra and Say Anything promote. Essentially, (from my guitarist/songwriter perspective) there are a lot of creative guitar parts. Brand New plays with reverb and delay a lot and uses a lot of distortion and power chords for those big choruses.

The album focuses mainly on the concept of depression and struggling to find God in the scariest most brooding situations. The opening line of the album (from the track “Sowing Season”) sets the tone pretty quickly, as Lacey sings, “Losing all my friends / Just losing them to drinking and to driving.”

The album wanders on, hitting stand out tracks like “Millstone,” “Not The Sun,” and “Jesus” that use Brand New’s signature “LET’S USE A MILLION DIFFERENT VOCAL TRACKS AND HAVE IT WORK PERFECTLY” style.

One potential criticism of this album would be the fact that as it goes on through its 12 tracks, it is very easy to get a little lost and forget which track you are listening to. It is very easy for songs to be good, but not stand out enough for you to really be affected in a different way by a different song. However, this is just a minor flaw in an otherwise well crafted piece of art.

I will leave you with this YouTube video of “Luca,” with the side note that even as a fan of this album for several years, I still get scared when it comes in loud at the end of the bridge (You’ll know. I promise).

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