It’s a tough job following-up an album that has been hailed in many circles as one of the greats of recent years from the alternative scene. Yet, with “The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (TDAGARIM)”, Brand New continue from their immensely popular and well-regarded “Deja Entendu”, with originality and the kind of talent that is missing from most major-label debuts.
Since the stylistically ever-changing quartet have been prolonging this album for over three years now, expectations have been towering. Lucky for fans of Brand New, these expectations are often met and sometimes even exceeded. The album, an adventure in it’s own right, is composed of 12 tracks, only a few of which are weak links (“Untitled” and “Welcome To Bangkok”). Fortunately, the remaining tracks all vary from really good to mind-blowing.
Tracks like “Limousine,” “You Won’t Know” and “Luca” fall into the ‘really good,’ while tracks like “Sowing Season (Yeah),” “Millstone,” “Jesus Christ,” “Degausser,” “Archers,” and “Handcuffs” fall into the ‘mind-blowing’.
The only problem with having an album half-full of mind-blowing songs is that it tends to be a little overwhelming at times, causing one to fully concentrate on one song instead of the album as a whole. But, it doesn’t really seem fair to penalize a band for being too good. And good they certainly are.
Like “Deja Entendu”, lyrics play a huge role in “TDAGARIM”, enlightening subjects and revealing profound insights. Often the thoughts of agonized frontman Jesse Lacey, who once proclaimed he writes more “postcards than hooks,” the lyrics give the album a valuable, necessary weight.
Lyrics like “Do I divide and fall apart?/Cuz my bright is too sly to hold back all my dark,” from “Jesus Christ” ring beautifully and lyrics from “Handcuffs,” spew confessional-like thoughts that are sometimes haunting.
It goes without saying that in the span of three years, Brand New has definitely matured. And while many of the songs don’t have the consistency Deja Entendu’s did, they all hold their own on the album, giving it a disjointed and yet mesmerizing feel that is hard to resist.
When it comes to quality music, 2006 has been an exceptional year. If you were only going to buy one album this year, make it Tool’s “10,000 Days”. However, if you’re willing to buy two, make the second one “TDAGARIM”.
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.