Brand New - Science Fiction
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Review by: Elle Rogers
Science Fiction is the fifth LP release from Brand New following their 2009 release, “Daisy”. After seven years. Any attempt to convey the anticipation would grossly disappoint; regardless, I will state that the wait, for some of brand news legion of fans, akin to the Szechuan sauce riots of 2017. The album opens with vintage recordings of a woman, which is reminiscent to the introduction to “Vices” on Daisy, responding to a question asked in what appears to be a therapy session. This recording leads into “Lit Me Up”, which is the perfect song title to symbolize an awakening.
The carefully timed measures paint a picture of a dive into self-realization. Swells of intensity followed by subtle emptiness are introduce alongside lyrics such as, “I want to put my hands to work ‘til the work’s done, I want to open up my heart like the ocean”.
That duality of man is clearly weighing down just as heavily as ever. “Doesn’t forget the thousand years before it slept, it’s the beast, it’s my heart, it’s open” (“Lit Me Up”). These lyrics represent our favorite Brand New topics, of failure existence and the dark side of mankind, and set the tone for the whole album.
The same basic brand new has again graced us. The same old laments. However, the difference is a perspective that hold more insight, and the most optimism, we've seen from the group in a very long time. In this album, it seems like we are allowed a little closer into this Brand New machine. We are, once again, invited inside a process of living with one’s own demons, yet this time we get to dwell a little deeper and with more detail. We witness growth through self-analysis and recourse and come to the realization that "the power lies with in" rhetoric is strong theme throughout the album.
The third track on the album, "Waste”, showcases internal struggles that are lullabied and welcomed with solution by stating, "Give up trying to be someone, take your head apart, free your own heart", the songs somber guitars and slowed temple capture this lament well. It gives me strong Stone Temple Pilots, "Big Empty" vibes. Anyone? No? Ok.
A stand out piece, both lyrically and musically, is “Out of Mana”. Musically, the dynamic changes and crescendos are in all the right places and it makes for a really well rounded, pleasurable song. Lyrically, this song seems to take on rebirths, and unlimited chances by singing, "Next you should dominate all the quests everyone said were too hard" and "I'll break and create life. All praise player one, infinite lives, in time will come up”. Fantasy at its finest on taking control and great video game references.
This album is an adventure into existentialism; it’s the perfect accompaniment to our everyday existentialist crisis needs with transitions we can be thankful for. Our favorite pieces from Daisy and things that mesmerized us with The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me were naturally melted together to form a hybrid album. Although Science Fiction did not disappoint, it didn’t quite show us something we haven't seen before. It’s the least we could hope for a farewell album and we got it.