After eight years of B-sides, demos and rumours of a band split, Brand New fans are finally being rewarded for their patience. Jesse Lacey and gang return with Science Fiction, and long-time devotees can be excited.
Opener Lit Me Up is ethereal yet dark. The bass line dictates the mood of the gentle instrumentals, as Lacey sings, “I want to open up my heart like the ocean”.
References to water feature time and again, most notably on Same Logic / Teeth with the obtuse lyrics, “At the bottom of the ocean, fish won’t judge you by your faults” washing over intricate guitars, an electronic fuzz bubbling below, as well as on the more obviously titled In the Water, on which Lacey sings about “Drowning in the praise”.
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This theme appears to run parallel to the struggles of mental health, expressed most clearly on Waste. The same mood threads through Can’t Get It Out with its refrain, “I’ve got a positive message, sometimes I can’t get it out”.
There’s a real mix on the record. Could Never Be Heaven channels 60s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, 451 has a bluesy slant, and No Control harks back to the band’s debut, Your Favourite Weapon.
Some fans may miss the pop punk edge of earlier works, but Brand New have delivered a stellar LP that makes up for the wait.