PROCRASTINATE! MUSIC TRAITORS
Goodbyes are never easy (especially when they’re choked down under the weight of expectation) but driven by some of their most honest and provocative songwriting, Brand New’s dark and dreary swansong is the perfect bullet in their 18-year blossom from pop-punk underdogs to bonafide rock icons.
ScienceFiction was initially issued as one single, untitled track just toppling the hourlong mark. It made sense – recurring lyrical nodes, sprawling instrumental journeys and interluding snippets of found audio make for an album that is best digested in dedicated, unbroken listens – think TheWall, except for expats of the Fueled By Ramen age. Its acoustic-heavy dynamics ebb and flow between melancholy and madness, from the sludgy and slow-burning “Waste” to the filthy, fiery blues rock resplendency of “451” (a highlight with its blazing solo and epic key change). However understated, Vincent Accardi and frontman Jesse Lacey employ their most conscientious fretwork here.
Hints of the band’s hyper-melodic origins shine on “Can’t Get It Out” and “No Control”, which feel like existential reveries of the now grown-up and burnt-out protagonist of DejaEntendu. “Same Logic / Teeth”, “137” and “In The Water” are all downtrodden little rock operas of their own: fun-sized Floydian trips doused in experimental quips and guitar solos that echo some of the most riveting in classic rock. Their collective flow is broken by the roaring “Out Of Mana”, its brooding verses and metallic wails creeping itchily towards their climax before a tense clatter of chimes snap into what could easily be labelled the most poignant of Brand New’s acoustic ballads – less than a minute long, and heavily muffled at that.
The record ends with a subtle, tongue-in-cheek obnoxiousness: synth-washed cracks of thunder followed by a distant Lacey mumbling, “That’s the one right there. That’s what we were waiting for.” And as much as we’d love to argue the narcissism, it’s honestly fitting. Eight years on from Daisy and almost 18 from their inception, Brand New have crafted the enigmatic emo jewel they were destined to. They’ve captured lightning in a bottle: mopey, manic lightning.