#4 Brand New - Deja Entendu (Triple Crown, 2003)
I first heard Brand New when I saw the video for "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" (from this album) on Fuse. I thought it was a good song, but I didn't pay too much attention until the video for "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades" hit the airwaves. At that point they had my full attention. My first copy of this album was a burned version that one of the guitarists in my emo band that I wrote about yesterday gave me. Since then, I have bought the album and love it.
Brand New are an interesting band. Their first album (2001's Your Favorite Weapon) was kinda standard pop-punk/emo musically, but with some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. By the time Deja Entendu came around, the band was experimenting more sonically, but continued writing interesting, thought-provoking lyrics. While the range of musical style was more experimental, the overall sound was still firmly in the pop-punk area. On their two later albums, the band has taken on a sound that to me sounds like a middle ground between Deja Entendu and bands like Modest Mouse, with the newest album containing an odd mix of pop, progressive rock, shoe-gaze, noise and art rock.
In retrospect, the bands later sound is hinted at in Deja Entenudu's opening track, "Tatou," where a melodic guitar and erratic, hammering drums support Jesse Lacey's whisper-shouted "I'm sinking like a stone in a sea, I'm burning like a bridge for your body" (the only lyrics in the whole song). From there, the album transitions to "Sic Transit Gloria," a bass-heavy ode to loss of innocence with overlapping vocal tracks and a chorus begging to be sang along at concerts. The album moves on to acoustic-led rants on touring ("I Will Play My Game Beneath The Spin Lights"), slightly matured throwbacks to their earlier work ("The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows"), Smiths-like songs about decaying relationships ("The Boy That Blocked His Own Shot," even the title sounds like something Morrissey would come up with), the guilt of taking advantage of a girl ("Me vs Maradona vs Elvis"), and ends with the beautiful acoustic song "Play Crack The Sky."
Favorite Tracks: "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades," "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't," "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows," "Jaws Theme Swimming"