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Album Review: Science Fiction by Brand New

Brand New released their fifth album Science Fiction on the 17th August via their own label, Procrastinate Music Traitors. It was a surprise move that caught everybody off guard, pre-orders with a shipping date of ‘October’ went live on the 15th August then 17th, a CD containing one 61-minute long track was shipped to people who had pre-ordered the limited edition vinyl, with each CD numbered out of 500.[16] The track, entitled “44.5902N104.7146W” (coordinates to the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, also known as the setting for the 1977 sci-fi film Close Encounters of the Third Kind) came with a booklet including quotes from the Poole versus HAL 9000 chess match scene in the 1968 sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Naturally the album leaked all over Facebook and YouTube, before the band officially released a download through the Procrastinate Music Traitors website and confirmed it was their fifth album Science Fiction.

Clocking in at just over 60 minutes it picks up where 2009’s Daisy left off, from the post-punk tones of opener ‘Lit Me Up’ you’re welcomed back into the Brand New fold and it’s as if they haven’t been away for the last 8 years. They’re a band that have rightly become revered in the post-hardcore / emo scene, they’ve come a long way from the impetuous pop punk of 2001’s Your Favorite Weapon. Deja Entendu (2009) will forever be the soundtrack to angsty post-hardcore kids while The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (2006) and Daisy saw the band growing into something bigger, something more refined and towards the perfect alt-rock act.

Science Fiction sees the natural evolution of Brand New come to its next logical spot. While the surprise release may have stopped expectations being blown out of proportion, any preconceptions or hopes have been met and exceeded on Science Fiction. From quiet beginnings, the album bursts into life with ‘Can’t Get It Out’. There’s an urgency and immediacy to the track that reaffirms your love of Brand New. ‘Waste’ tones things down a notch and plays the part of a slow burning emo track perfectly. The sumptuous guitar tones of ‘Could Never Be Heaven’ wash over you and lull you into comfort before ‘Same Logic/Teeth’ revels in the archetypical Brand New song and comes out sounding like one of their most immediate and forthright tracks.

The slow burn of ‘137’ is a delight before ‘Out of Mana’ hammers home that not only is this Brand New’s best material but something very special. It connects in a raw and visceral way that you’ll find insatiable. It’s an album that you fall in love with immediately and fills a Brand New shaped void that’s been missing from your life. ‘In the Water’ is big, ambitious and wrought with emotion. That emotion spills over into the throbbing ‘Desert’ which shines bright as most tender and emotionally fragile track on Science Fiction. It’s impossible not to smile and love life during ‘No Control’, while lyrically it’s a bit dark, it’s power lights a spark. ‘451’ is a triumphant, balls out alt-rock track before ‘Batter Up’ closes the album in raw, delicate emotion.

Essential listening. Brand New mightn’t be back for long, but they’ve just released their best album and the most powerful album of 2017.

AD Rating 10/10

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