Brand New- “Science Fiction”
Stream and purchase the LP here.
Since their inception, Brand New have been the face of the modern emo scene. Any emo artist you can think of that formed after Brand New has been influenced by them in some shape and form, and it’s not hard to see why when you listen to records like Deja Entendu and The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Brand New include various other genres into the mix, such as progressive rock and pop punk, which has attracted even people who typically don’t like the genre to fall in love with them, and people who love emo, such as myself, to hold the band in even higher regard. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is truly one of those LPs that has been there for me for an incredibly long time, and is one of my favorite LPs ever. That said, outside of those two albums, I don’t exactly love the rest of Brand New’s material. Your Favorite Weapon is a little too pop-punk for my taste, and I just thought Daisy was quite boring. It’s been eight years since then, and out of nowhere (albeit with a few hints along the way), Brand New has decided to drop Science Fiction. The wait and how it dropped unannounced isn’t the only thing that’s special, however. Unless they drop something else before 2018, we can safely assume that this is going to be their final release. There have been some confusing statements made about the situation, but this seems like Brand New as we know them are over.
Science Fiction runs at just over an hour, and the LP consists of very slow, emotionally-driven tracks with tons of atmosphere and ambience, like on the opener and closer of this LP. This is something Brand New definitely worked with on their previous LP, Daisy, but it seems like the band has more focus this time around. There’s also a pretty obvious hint of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me on this LP, especially on tracks like “Can’t Get Out,” that I feel makes it more enjoyable. However, I have to say, especially for what may be their swansong, this is one of the safest LPs I have ever listened to. There really isn’t a track on here that is really too out of the ordinary for the group aside from “451,” easily the worst track on the LP. As for every other track, there isn’t really too much wrong, but none of them are exceptional. I think “Batter Up” is a nice way for the band to close out their career, and I dig tracks like “137,” but these are not by any means the best tracks, and the rest are pretty much as “okay” as a song can be. Songs like “Waste” just sound like mediocre versions of “Jesus Christ.” All of these other songs kind of just have the Daisy-vibe, and while they are done better than on Daisy, they are just nice-sounding songs that go in one ear and out the other. The lyrics don’t really make me feel any sort of way, either, which always upsets me, because I want lots of feelings from my emo music, especially if this is the end of the band.
A band's final LP should be triumphant. Take a look at last year, where we had post-rock legends Swans and mathcore heroes The Dillinger Escape Plan put out LPs that summarized their respective careers while also providing new, ambitious flavors, hinting at more. On Science Fiction, Brand New kind of just release the safest LP they can. We waited eight years, and all we got was a slightly improved version of Daisy. If you listened to any of this band’s back catalog, you know what to expect, and I hate that it’s that way. At the end of the day, This is really as disappointing a way to go out as I can imagine for one of the most iconic bands in emo.
- Alex Brown