Australian Guitar - - Cd Reviews - MATT DO­RIA

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.

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