Eight years may equal a lifetime. Especially for a band who established a certain legacy throughout the first decade of the 2000s. A band who, that’s fact, doesn’t seem to fit the current music industry and didn’t actually do much to hide some bitter feelings in the past eight years. Brand New, eventually, came back. All of a sudden, with a much-awaited yet unannounced new full-length, ‘Science Fiction’, out on Procrastinate! Music Traitors and with a blitz campaign on social media. Something like: music first, forget all the rest. Forget what you have always known about the Long Island-born indie/emo band. Even the latest, messy releases between demos and a single, 2016’s ‘I Am Nightmare’, that now more than ever, sounds like a quick exercise of style, out of a series of outtakes from 2001’s ‘Your Favourite Weapon’.
Forget everything, take some time, sit down and press play. ‘Science Fiction’ will bring you straight in the middle of a journey through the dungeons of human mind, exploring hidden soundscapes, displaying the soul of this band as you, almost, never heard it. It starts telling you a weird story of a dream, right before ‘Lit Me Up’ wraps the room with its halo of dark melancholia. Sharp guitar riffs pair with Lacey’s voice, creating a soundscape that draws from ‘The Devil And God’ era, leaving the memories from 2009’s ‘Daisy’ on a side. It’s not easy to find a fil rouge, on a record that transits ‘Can’t Get It Out’ right before approaching the majestic and desolated atmospheres of ‘Waste’, one of the most emotional moments of the entire LP.
“You and I repent of our sins
Yeah, we feel so American laying in the road
Was a shoe-in for the crash of the day
And we’re never going to walk away
Never going home”
The journey of this album is unpredictable, amongst changes of registers, enigmatic lyrics (“At the bottom of the ocean fish won’t judge you by your faults”) reminiscences of early Nirvana and dusty grunge rock (‘No Control’). It swifts from the distortions of ‘Same Logic/Teeth’ to flamenco-soaked moments like the deep and stunning ‘Desert’, entering schizophrenic and experimental pictures in ‘137’ and ‘451’.
‘Science Fiction’ sounds like a manifesto of an era, and so it does starting from its artwork, that shows a quite controversial scene where a car’s plate cryptically reads “SOS 666”. Brand New tear apart the noisy wall of ‘Daisy’, approach a new dimension that draws from their mid-2000s production but stands out as something nowadays even more peculiar and sophisticated. Nothing seems to be missing here, despite an increasing wait for an explosions of sounds and distortions that won’t come. The album shows off in all its beauty without reaching that climax you would normally expect from the Long Island rockers, maintaining a line of permanent tension instead.
Brand New decided to play with our hearts once again. They did it with their invaluable talent of musicians, songwriters, composers. They wrote an album that sounds to me like a last will in 12 songs and just over an hour of music certainly not easy to digest. It took a few spins to get to understand ‘Science Fiction’ as a record, in its entirety. I still don’t know whether I got it or not, but I need to show my gratitude, somehow. To Jesse Lacey and his band mates, for having been and being one of the very few living examples of bands who still can set me aback.
I don’t know whether this LP5 will be Brand New’s last chapter of an extraordinary and underrated career, or if Brand New will keep making music together. All I know is that I am willing to wait even longer, should that be eight more years. I clearly don’t need “everything”. And I don’t need it all now… I need something like Brand New and a record like this, able to speak to me and tell me the truth – even those bits I don’t wanna hear – like a punch straight to my heart, now in turmoil.
Procrastinate! Music Traitors | 2017
Tracklist & Stream