Most helpful critical review
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
Up to this point, each one of Brand New's albums has represented a huge step forward. This one, however, is stuck somewhere in the space of *The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me.* On this album, the lyrical themes of the last surface again, but in more obvious and less interesting ways. Rather than complex and engaging discussions of the difficulties of love and lost faith, there are lots of stray and melodramatic allusions to "crosses" and "saviors" that indicate Brand New want very much to be really heavy, but might be out of ideas for the time being. That's unfortunate, because it distracts from a pretty good set of musical templates. This band has evolved to a point where they can really lay down a great groove, and the melodies they pile on top are as intriguing this time around as they were on the last album. The opening track ("Vices") is fantastic, Brand New taking the standard screamo song format and proving that they do it better than anyone: the anger and intensity come through in all phases. From there, it's a pretty mixed bag. The slower songs are bogged down by labored vocals and, as said before, semi-ridiculous lyrics ("I see God in birds and Satan in long words" is one of many examples). The heavier, faster songs aren't that different from those found on the last album, except that they just aren't as good, and they lose value upon replay rather than gaining it. That being said, a handful of the songs here find Brand New exploring the new territory that will hopefully mark their next e.p. or album: the aforementioned "Vices," as well as the three closing tracks, "Daisy," "In a Jar," and "Noro." The rest of the album is kind of more of the same, only not quite as good, so you'll like it if you're a fan, but you won't get as much mileage out of it as you did the last album.