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The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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Album Review

When Brand New released Deja Entendu in mid-2003, it caught a lot of their fans off guard. It found the band taking a stylistic leap forward from the clever (albeit cookie-cutter) pop-punk of their 2001 debut, exploring expanded sonic textures and indie rock overtones, their urgent choruses tempered by acoustic musings and softer introspections. It all seemed very deliberate yet completely natural all the same, and the record was an underground smash. Something even more substantial was definitely brewing beneath the band's emo façade, and as a result, Brand New's follow-up was hotly anticipated for the three years it took the band to release it. The resulting The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is the completion of their pop-punk molting process and one of the best surprises — that isn't really a surprise at all — to come out of 2006. Even when they were playing straightforward pop-punk ditties, Brand New had an edge to them that made them seem smarter than their peers; now they sound even older and stronger (and like they've been listening to a lot of '90s college and indie rock). This record is dark and dense, yet accessible, a shadowy air permeating every crevice where Jesse Lacey's plaintive and often tortured lyrics aren't already residing. He draws listeners in with vulnerable ruminations and questions of love, death, self, and religion, and his vocal inflections bring as much meaning to the table as his carefully chosen words. The opening "Sowing Season" ebbs and flows steadily, moving along under light guitar before exploding with percussion, Lacey ably switching from a hushed delivery into an anguished cry of emotion before falling back down again effortlessly. With it, Brand New sets up the somber intensity of the record straightaway. Textural and sonic layers unfold at every turn — punching drums and trembling guitars here, aching vocals and subtle touches of string there — and the album moves with a directed force that seems so naturally powerful and uncontrived, it's almost ridiculous to think that the band cut its teeth with poppy anthems like "Jude Law and a Summer Abroad." The Devil and God is not an album of hooks; the excellent percussive stomp of "The Archers Bows Have Broken" is the most immediate here, but songs get stuck in the brain nonetheless and demand repeated spins. Old fans especially smitten by Deja's "Play Crack the Sky" have no excuse not to love everything about this record, as even lengthy tracks (like the near-eight-minute "Limousine" or the chill-inducing beauty of "Jesus") are completely compelling. People who were ready to discount Brand New into the emo/TRL heap of the 2000s better rethink their stance; Brand New seems to know exactly what they're doing and this record is a testament to their ability to stay true to themselves. Whether they want to stay underground or fully break into the mainstream, this album has the potential to do either. Either way it doesn't really matter — whatever happens, there's no denying how excellent this record is.

Customer Reviews

What if....?

How disheartening it is to realize Jesse probably will "never" believe this album is complete. Since the demos were leaked last year, who knows how potentially outstanding this album could have been. The point is nobody, not even Jesse and the band will ever know. He has been quoted for saying that he was very "down" about the leaked songs last year. He also has said that upon hearing that the songs had been leaked, he felt the need to "go back" and re-write the songs. The new CD is said only have 2 of those demos on the CD (Luca and Sowing Season). The rest of the CD is full of songs that either were inspired by the demos, or simply written in place of the potential timeless songs that Jesse had been working on for almost three years but never made it because they were leaked. I guess the point of this album is almost sad. I believe it is fantastic, I almost think it is as good as Deja Entendu. But what will always live with me when I listen to this 12-song trip into Jesse's genious mind is that alot of these songs are REPLACEMENTS. Thats right folks. Nobody will ever know the REAL The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. Not even Jesse Lacey. We are forever burdened to listen to a phenomenal album that could possibly be a shell of whatever was meant to be released. So shame on all of us. Shame on us for not letting the creative process run its course. Shame on us for stopping Picasso before he was finished painting. Shame on us to stop Mozart before he was done composing. And shame on us for preventing Jesse Lacey from giving us what he really wanted to give us. Truely a sad, sad story.

Do you remember...

...when you were a little kid and the feeling of waiting an eternity for Christmas morning to finally come? Then, when that glorious morning arrives and you rush down to unwrap that present you had been wanting so bad, you know, that certain action figure you wanted all year long. Now, do you remember how you felt when you opened it and found out that your parents got you the wrong one? The confusion, the disappointment. Thats what i feel after hearing TDAGARIM. I wait 3-1/2 years and this is what i get? Never did i think that by the end of this cd would i not be smiling. I dont know when BN went a little off course. Not that the cd is bad by any means. The lyrics are as usual great and there is variety in each song but it just seems over produced. To many sound effects and things going on that take away from THEIR sound. With the theme of this cd there should have been at least one acoustic song, but there is not, and "Handcuffs" lyrically doesnt do it for me(Jesse didnt write it). And really, nearly 4 years pass, they admit to writing nearly 60 songs and they stick and instrumental and an intermission track to fill the space?!? What a waste. Tracks 1-4, awesome! 5-12 average at best. All the leaked untitled demos rocked and with some fine tuning would have made a much better album than this. Stick Untitled 1, 2, 3 and 5 on this album and you have a solid 4-1/2 star album. For something that has taken this long, the whole thing just doesnt feel finished, all the way from the horrible one page web site to the cardboard sleeve case with no lyrics. Please tell me that the REAL cd is still being worked on and this was just to hold me over till then

A Return To Form!

Jesse and the crew from Brand New have come back from a bit of a hiatus, and are better then ever! I'm from Long Island, and let me tell you, this work has been anticipated for a long time. Between the lack of news about them, to their cryptic website, fans have been fearing the worst, that Brand New could have broken up. However with the release of "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Of Me," we see that they have actually spent this time working hard at writing some amazing songs. Many people might be quick to label the band as an "Emo" group, however, after a few listens, you can tell that they have developed an extremely different sound from their earlier songs. And their style is definitely accessible to every type of listener. For sure, this album can appeal to a wider audience than just their fans. My top tracks include "Sowing Season," "Jesus Christ," and "Not the Sun." The last one I mentioned is probably my favorite. Different from the usual Brand New in that the song is almost a dance-rock number, and trust me, you will love it!

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Merrick, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although the members of Brand New cut their teeth in various hardcore bands, the group took a more melodic approach to its own work, embracing punk-pop on the debut album Your Favorite Weapon and incorporating aspects of indie rock during future projects. Formed in Long Island, NY, the band took shape in 2000 around the talents of drummer Brian Lane, vocalist/guitarist Jesse Lacey, bassist Garrett Tierney, and guitarist Vin Accardi. Brand New wasted little time attracting local attention with a self-released...
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