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Brand New
The Devil And God Raging Inside Of Me
Interscope Records

Whatever you remember about the native Long Island quartet Brand New from their past two albums Deja Entendu in 2003 and Your Favorite Weapon in 2001, like their hardcore/punk signatures as persuasive as Finch and Unwritten Law, let it go. Their major label debut, The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, produced by the band and their long time friend/collaborator Mike Sapone - who was also involved in Brand New's two previous albums - is more Papa Roach plaque hyphenated by a Moneen thematic in their melodic rock measures of guitar riffage and vocal dimensions. Brand New's current release The Devil And God Raging Inside Of Me touches on dark conflicting emotions in their lyrical content reflective of Nirvana's introspective diary-like entries, but played with a modern rock style that gives these lyrics intensity crackling with organic textures similar to My Chemical Romance.

Band members Jesse Lacey (lead vocals), Brian Lane (drummer), Vinnie Accardi (guitar), and Garrett Tierney (bass) weave their instrument and vocal movements between gentle whispers and blasts of outbursts with wide reaching howls. The album starts off with the plaintive quenched "Sowing Season," looping soft whispering vocals and guitar rotations with vocal shouts and postulating guitar cuts. The drum rolls on "Millstone" switch intermittently between heavy fisted swings and sprites of sparse notches along the melodic folds while the lyrical content is intimate with the listener as Lacey's vocals glide through the verses: "I used to pray to God was listening/ I used to make my parents proud/ I was the glue that kept my friends together/ Now they don't talk and we don't go out."

The lyrics show a personal change, a transformation in one's character that does not necessarily make one a better person. The lyrics can be implied to represent the visual on the album cover with two skeletal figures in black cloaks waiting at the front door of a home while a little girl is at the side of the house hiding from the demonic apparitions who seem to be waiting to take her. The image can be symbolic of Brand New's lyrics which portray innocence being threatened by malevolent forces. The instrument verses project this struggle by interchanging between building platoons of large clumping swells then releasing the coiled tension into hollowed burghs. "Jesus" is suckled into these seesaw flurries with a vocal melody that flosses rippling octave swags. "Degeusser" dowers crisp drum beasts and ghostly vocal glides that step into loud howls adjoined by billowing children choruses and stormy instrument vibrations. The movements transform from quietly contemplative to bawling screams.

The songs movements vary from rushing flusters and coiled clumps to reclining motions and soft weightless vocals like on "Limousine" and "You Won't Know." Brand New also uses some acoustic guitar verses on "Welcome To Bangkok" and "Luca", adding on spiraling guitar shreds and puncturing drum rolls. The sparkling synth effects and tambourines on "Luca" thicken the melody as the vocals scale along the notes giving the number a glossy finish. The quick drum rolls on "The Archers Bows Have Broken" have a punk rock crunch, while the final track "Handcuffs," the only track with lyrics written by the band's guitarist Accardi, all other lyrics are written by Lacey, pervades a Brit-pop psychedelics reminiscent of Babyshambles.

Brand New's latest release The Devil And God Raging Inside Me has an epic feel to it, not just because of the glossy textures of the instrument lines and the vocal sophistication in the melodies, but because of the maturity in the lyrical content. The band has undergone a monumental change not only musically but internally. The album transcends categories like emo, hardcore, punk rock, etc. that were implied in their music and made well crafted pop/rock songs with deep meaning sewn into the verses. They didn't sacrifice fun, they just became more serious about their actions.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. Sowing Season
2. Millstone
3. Jesus Christ
4. Degeusser
5. Limousine
6. You Won't Know
7. Welcome To Bangkok
8. Not The Sun
9. Luca
10. Untitled
11. The Archers Bows Have Broken
12. Handcuffs

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