In a recent interview, Jesse Lacey, the frontman of Brand New and the biggest underground icon in the world, stated that he has never made a dime on record sales. Of course, that’s not an uncommon statement for a singer to make these days. However, when your band has headlined festivals like Bamboozle, Big Day Out, Download, Give It A Name, and Warped Tour one would assume you’d be able to pull a little scratch. However, when it comes to Brand New, staying underground has proven to be exactly what’s best for them. Without the hassle of mainstream expectations, Lacey has been free to let his project grow from pop-punk, to emo, to a sound all their own. This new sound was showcased on 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. Brand New took their music to a completely new level, raising the bar for every other underground band.

The album starts small, with Lacey mumbling about losing all his friends to drinking and driving while playing a simple four chord progression on “Sowing Season (Yeah)”. Then, with one trademark scream, the fullness of the record is showcased. The same four chords that were soft and simple just five seconds ago are now grand, displaying a clear difference between loud and noisy, where many bands today have seemed to forgotten that the difference between the two is important. This is where Brand New is at some of their best as the next track, “Millstone” continues this trend. On “Jesus Christ”, Brand New turn down the volume to display their lyrical prowess as Lacey sings “Jesus Christ, I’m not scared to die/But I’m a little bit scared of what comes after”. Following is Brand New’s best work, “Degausser”, showcasing the controlled emotion Brand New possesses. In between the laments of a ghostly chorus, Lacey expresses his intense loneliness through the use of a three-part scream chorus. This distinction between loud and soft, anger and loneliness, is what makes Brand New so special. They even still have a little punk sensibility in them as displayed on “The Archers Bows Are Broken” and “You Won’t Know”. The record closes with “Handcuffs” showing Brand New at their softest, sweetest.

Overall rating: 9.3/10

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