Brand New is back with final album “Science Fiction”

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Written By

Danielle Meadows

After eight years of delays and rumors, Long Island rock band Brand New is back with their
highly anticipated fifth album, Science Fiction.
There’s a sense of awe a fan feels when listening to how a band transforms. From instruments meshing with new layers of complexity, once whiny vocals cleaning up or lyrics gradually maturing from hating your best friend because he stole your girlfriend—it’s a fascinating metamorphosis that occurs in any art form.
Whether this sense of awe involves disappointment or amazement is up to the listener.Sometimes change is uncomfortable, but it’s inevitable. Without fresh material, a band’s music can become grossly mundane.
As Brand New’s latest album since 2009s “Daisy,” years of buildup are behind Science Fiction. Articles doused in speculation made their way around the internet during these eight years, along with songs that were alleged leaks. Brand New fans are some of the most obsessive out there, but these years of rumors made them question whether there would even be another album.
On Aug. 15, Brand New mysteriously updated their website for their record label, allowing pre-orders for an unnamed record. A European and American tour was also announced. Two days later, a CD containing one 61-minute-long track was shipped to those who pre-ordered the album. The track was titled with coordinates, which matched the location of the sci-fi filmClose Encounters of the Third Kind.
Hours later, Science Fiction” was released and Brand New fans around the world rejoiced. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 (in the issue dated Sept. 9), becoming the top selling Brand New album in their entire 18-year career.
Science Fiction is a bittersweet release as lead vocalist Jesse Lacey has stated that Brand
New’s existence is nearing expiration. Merch created for a previous summer tour confirmed thiswith “Brand New, 200 2018” printed on a t-shirt.
The impending end of Brand New makes Science Fiction” that much more special. Thenostalgia-ridden, emotionally-draining album touches on topics such as mental illness (“Lit MeUp,” “Same Logic/Teeth”), struggles with religion (“Desert”), anxiety around creating music(“Can’t Get It Out”) and tons of existential dread. The lyrical content of Brand New has expanded from looking outward to looking inward.
The record opens with the crackling, fragile voice of an anonymous patient, reflecting on her mental state after 400 hours of therapy to ease her unspecified trauma. She’s looking forward to progressing but is clearly exhausted:
“While I don’t mind having all this going on inside of me,” she sighs, “I think I’m going to be relieved when it’s over, when I can sort of settle back down.”
This introduction is the first in a long line of metaphors for Lacey’s various mentions of death. There are similar introductions and outros that litter the albumalmost teetering on the side of distracting but that still aid in the overall message.
In “Out of Mana,” Lacey hearkens back to the Devil and God days, envisioning life as a videogame with death acting as the final level: “All praise player one/infinite lives, in time will come up.” Each song is beautifully devastating, proving Brand New can be just as sad as they’ve always been but far more mature.
This maturity, however, admittedly makes their songs less catchy. Perhaps the band’s focus on this record was stronger lyrical content and interesting instrumentals, but there are very few melodies that are as attractive to the ear as their previous work. The songs on Science Fictionare far less likely to get stuck in my head, however the band has made their most beautiful and emotionally affecting songs to date.
Science Fiction” has a gorgeous, macabre atmosphere that begins in the first track and never fizzles out. The album works to maintain this dark identity and keeps the listener trapped in this world, with highlights such as the chilling guitar riff in “137” and a comically wicked voice in “Same Logic/Teeth”. 
Science Fiction” proves that Brand New has moved away from the heavy emo and pop-punkinfluence that was their namesake in the early 2000s. If their early releases are music for anxiousand depressed teenagers, Science Fiction” is for anxious and depressed adults.
While this isn’t the best Brand New record, it’s certainly one not to pass up. “Science Fiction isthe perfect way for Brand New to go out  a bookend to a band’s career that spans decades, is adored by fans and inspires artists everywhere.

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