If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Brand New over the years, it’s to expect the unexpected. After three genre-defining albums; pop punk classic Your Favourite Weapon, emo template Deja Entendu and the progressive masterpiece The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me, who knows what their fourth, the rather mysteriously titled Daisy; originally called One Head Can Never Die, would offer up.
After numerous listens I still don’t know. But what is overwhelmingly clear is that once again Brand New have scrapped their past and started fresh. Opener ‘Vices’ starts with a delicate female vocal sample that lures the listener into a false sense of security before the Long Island quartet kick in. It will make you jump. And not just the first or second time, but over and over again. But by god it’s brilliant. It’s a wake up call before you’ve even had the chance to nod off. It’s the first moment that you realise Brand New have only gone and done it again.
The faint of heart will find quick relief with the more gentle ‘Bed’, and then later with ‘You Stole’; think ‘Jesus Christ’ without the arpeggios for the latter. First single ‘At The Bottom’ provides the album’s most commercial moment; savour it though, as clearly Brand New gave up caring about what the masses thought a long time ago, as made evident by the utterly bizarre ‘Be Gone’; which mixes slide guitar with barely audible distorted vocals. However, clocking in at only 1:31 it’s an indulgence that can be forgiven. Mid album ‘Sink’ is perhaps Daisy‘s strongest moment, again showcasing a new more aggressive side to the band first hinted at in the opener, with a clear influence from grunge and lo fi garage rock. ‘Gasoline’ and ‘ Bought A Bride’ also shine; despite having already been debuted at numerous festival dates prior to the album’s release, both continue to impress, partly due to phenomenal percussion from drummer Brian Lane.
Ultimately, with every record Brand New have delivered something totally different to the last and Daisy is no exception. Whilst it may not receive the same critical praise as its predecessors, the band have stayed true to themselves; making the music they want to make and not what is expected of them. Call it pretension. Call it arrogance. Call it career suicide. Call it what you want. In my books ‘Daisy’ is going down as, perhaps not their best work to date, but it is certainly their most dangerous, boldest and bravest, and for that they should once again be applauded.