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Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...
on 3 January 2010
Pausing for thought, it would be a marvel if, audibly and lyrically, Daisy topped the towering achievements of the previous two albums `Déjà Entendu' and `The Devil and God are raging inside me'; It doesn't. Yet this does not mean it is worse, it is very different. On the back of the band's sheer commitment to maintaining an individual sound, their willingness to experiment and their resolve towards hard work it would be easy to fall in to the trap of spilling out grandiose endorsements on merit. So I will judge the album as it should be judged: as a completely new offering by the band.
Don't get me wrong there will be elements of bias in this opinion as Brand New are seemingly committed to their music they produce and have hitherto avoided the tyranny of success induced banality that has overcome many an innovative band. And let's face it this makes the band extremely flippin' likeable. It is hard not to feel committed and connected to them.
From its first listen (and I have listened to it complete six or seven times now) It comes across as a musical sketchbook. It is as if over the past few years the band has been jotting down ideas and snippets; the culmination of which is a melange of different ideas turned into a new record. It is a `best of' the bits we missed out or had forgotten about.
There is no obvious direction to the album. This believe it or not, is its charm. True it is not as instantly accessible as its predecessor which off the top of my head bears similarity in relationship to Weezer's Blue album and Pinkerton. I found far more longevity in Pinkerton even though it was overshadowed and can see Daisy following suit.
A reason behind this longevity may be that Daisy feels as if it had been written by the band for the band. There is no air of pressure or constraint which seemed to permeate the previous record. Yes...'The Devil and God...' is exceptional. It is brilliant. But it came from a band writing songs to be liked rather than writing songs for themselves, and this is no criticism but merely an observation. Brand New's current selfishness (and do not let this word become misconstrued) has paid off.
The songs do finish prematurely and feel slightly unfinished but this again lends itself to the album pertaining to a scrapbook of ideas. It is raw and bedraggled. It feels expressive and hits home a lot harder than anything they have offered previous. Ultimately there is a wealth of auditory goodness on this album. `Gasoline' is a belter and it stands up there with the best Brand New have produced. `Out of the jar' is as contemplative as it is ferocious. I keep re-visiting `Bed' (no pun intended) it has a tentative, alluring quality, a song that tantalises whilst never fully reaching its climax. The intro and outro I am led to believe is a classic Gospel song called `On life's highway' by Bertrand Brown, which unfortunately needs to be appreciated on an intellectual level as something intra-personal to Jesse; I love the idea of incorporating esoteric and unusual sounds but there would need to be more of it for the intro and outro to stand on their own in their own right, as it happens they seem slightly out of place.
Essentially Daisy's beauty and attraction is something set to slow release, it is a grower; it is an album that will present itself to you slowly. You will grow to love it and all of its rough edges.