Brand New will grace the Voodoo stage with maturity on Saturday.
In rock and roll years, late thirties elevates a band to wise elder status. Brand New released its first album in 2001 and have lived five different lives on each of their studio albums through experimentation with different genres, vocal styles, and sounds. No Brand New album sounds alike, which is what makes the band's most recent and possibly final release, Science Fiction, both intriguing and enjoyable. The band has matured with a surprising degree of grace. Brand New plays Voodoo Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Altar Stage.
The band's debut pop-punk album Your Favorite Weapon is often labeled immature by fans. It resonated with them as teens, but looking back, a few diamonds stand out in the rough: “The Shower Scene,” “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad,” and “Mixtape.” Deja Entendu is not as cringingly depressing as YFW, but they were still in their emo/pop days. Brand New hit its stride on its third and fourth albums, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me and Daisy, adopting a hardcore style with beetles and centipedes crawling up and down the chords.
If The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me was Brand New’s angsty, albeit technically and lyrically brilliant, high school teen, Science Fiction is the experienced adult who has seen sadness but knows how to survive. Transforming is necessary for any musician to be successful, but while emo has faded out as a genre, Brand New’s continuous shifting and maturing has brought the band prestige within the music industry in and out of emo.
Themes of death and depression are still evident on Science Fiction, but from a more introspective vantage point. For instance, “Can’t Get it Out” opens with a cheerful whistle, followed by the lyrics “I want to tell you we’re alright / Want to erase all your doubt / I’ve go this thorn dug in deeply / Sometimes I can’t get it out.” Looking inward, Lacey addresses his history with depressing lyrics and his inability to naturally find positivity in the world. It is this nuanced sense of self understanding that shows the band’s progression through an existential state of mind.
On “Could Never Be Heaven,” Jesse Lacey sings, “The deeper I sank / the less I died,” which is both an allusion to the song “Sink” from Daisy as well as an attempt to make more positive music. This isn’t overtly "happy," but by addressing that they want to change, it is clear that the band has matured. What was once an angst driven emo-pop group has now matured into a self-reflective emo-indie rock band. Where their previous albums were saturated in darkness, Science Fiction is the light at the end of the tunnel.