Two Album Reviews from the Summer
On 17 August, 2017 Brand New released their fifth studio album, Science Fiction, which is rumored to be their last. It comes from Lacey’s Procrastinate! Music Traitors label, and had been in the works for almost a decade.
The wait was painful for those of us who had been anticipating it since the rumors of its release started spinning in 2013. Alas, it is everything one would expect from a Brand New album. Big sounds, heartfelt lyrics, a complex soundscape that ranges from metal influences to the more traditional pop-punk approach that they became famous for. My favorite moments on the record come in the least expected places. The ending of the song “Same Logic/Teeth,” for example morphs into this spontaneous burst of picked acoustic guitar, while “Boy we gave you every opportunity,” begins the last verse, which carries out a completely different sound until the song ends. It’s poppy, surprising, and fun; I didn’t expect any of those things to happen on this record.
However, it is overall a rehash of old sounds, which bear resemblance to better versions of themselves throughout Brand New’s career.
Listen to: Track 5, Same Logic/Teeth.
The National, Sleep Well Beast
On 8 September, 2017 Sleep Well Beast, from “The National” was dropped to wide critical acclaim. The band’s consistent take and approach towards mature and adult themed songs continues to garnish them a diverse audience. The album features songs that have classic rock elements, and some of the more vast sounds fans of the band have come to expect.
Overall the record continues to drive home Aaron Dessner’s lyrically propelled songwriting style; the reality is that no one writes using “you” as effectively. Nevertheless it does feel almost like a shtick at this point; we get it, you’re an alcoholic, and you’re sad, and you’re old. Cool.
Listen to: Track 4, The System only Dreams in Total Darkness.