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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Brand New’s brand new “Science Fiction” worth the eight-year wait

Lacey performing in Toronto, 2006. Photo contributed

By Jack Marchesi

Brand New are back from their typical between-album slumber with their new album, “Science Fiction.” This marks the band’s first release in eight years, the longest they have waited yet to put out a project, and it is safe to say this was a highly anticipated album.

Though not particularly creative, the title, “Science Fiction,” adequately matches the tone that the album sets. Brand New often does well creating a project that contains a few straightforward pop-structured bangers interspersed with songs that appear to be more experimental for emo music. The new album certainly delivers with this formula.

The album opens with an eerie psychoanalytic sample that recounts the dream of a patient. The patient’s voice, masked by static and warped effects, is accompanied by an ominous sway of stringed instruments. The omnipresence of overproduction and electronic synthesizers in the introductory track might lead a devout Brand New fan to be nervous right off the bat, but it all makes sense as soon as Jesse Lacey’s voice creeps in.

It could be argued that all of the band’s previous albums begin in a captivating way, but “Science Fiction” certainly makes use of a new approach: a lengthy and somber tune that leads the listener to expect some experimentation.

That being said, Brand New jumps right back into their iconic sound for the meat of the album with songs like “Can’t Get It Out,” “Same Logic/Teeth” and “Out of Mana.”

Brand New have been known for their emotional and poetic lyrics in the past, but “Science Fiction” seems to explore these traits further.

For example, on “Can’t Get It Out,” Lacey sings “Not just a manic depressive, toting around my own cloud, I’ve got a positive message, sometimes I can’t get it out.”

Lacey’s lyrics from the third chorus seem almost apologetic for the extensive catalog of dismal music that he has produced, but also acknowledges the brutal power of mental illness — a prominent theme throughout “Science Fiction.”

Throughout its history, emo music has been accused of being whiny and gloomy, and Brand New seems to address this by acknowledging that as the point of the genre. Lacey notes that his music serves as a release for himself in addition to being a soothing source of release for his listeners that may be experiencing something similar. At one point he sings, “Were you one of the cured kids? My shins burn for the replica youth.”

This album is a must-listen for people who enjoy hard-hitting lyrics that are accompanied by well-polished punk backing tracks.

Brand New has constantly been evolving since their first release, and their progression has shaped and transformed a genre in monumental steps — Science Fiction” is the latest edition to this progress, and has the honors of achieving the band’s premier accolade of a Billboard No. 1. Seriously, go listen to this and reevaluate your life. It is healthy.

Lacey performing in Toronto, 2006.
Photo contributed
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  • S

    seanSep 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    also the line is “..manic depressive, toting around my own crown…”

  • S

    sean mSep 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    punk backing tracks ?