Brand New is an indie rock and emo band and after a lengthy 7 years they have released their self-proclaimed final album, “Science Fiction”. The band has made their send-off an epic one, with “Science Fiction” winding to over an hour in length. The album has been gaining a lot of buzz, receiving perfect ratings and being considered for album of the year.
I’m not familiar with Brand New, neither with their sound nor their discography so I only had the faintest idea of what to expect. What I got was a slow, deliberate, mature, and at times explosive album. On first listen, I wasn’t digging the songs, I couldn’t decipher what made them special compared to any other generic indie rock band. But, towards the midway point things started to click, especially with the song “Desert” which is my favorite from the album. The contrast between the moving instrumentation and vocals and the lyrics told from the point of view of a hypocritical conservative Christian made me turn my head. Speaking of instrumentation, Brand New uses what you would expect (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) but also busts out some other lavish instruments very effectively, in fact every instrument is used in a deliberate manner as if every plucked string was carefully planned.
There are a lot of beautiful moments on “Science Fiction” as well as some catchy melodies, but beneath all of this is one of my favorite things about the album: The atmosphere. There is an unsettling darkness to “Science Fiction” with obvious signs of depression throughout. There is something sinister, too, as if the Devil is standing in the background of these songs.
Although it took me some time, I’ve really come around to “Science Fiction” and I think it deserves a lot of the praise it has received. This is certainly a slow burner and a mature record, but one that I think will reward you if you give it a chance.