Brand New have never done the expected. Their 2001 debut, Your Favorite Weapon, was full of biting songs you couldn't stop singing. Deja Entendu, an extraordinary record that broke new musical ground, followed, and 2006's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me featured some of the band's darkest lyrics and most mature musicianship. For nine years, Brand New have proven they know how to successfully reinvent themselves. But the band's latest album, Daisy, shows that good things don't last forever. Brand New made a career out of pushing boundaries, but this time they went too far. It's not exactly clear what they're trying to accomplish here.
Gone are the witty lyrics and subtle instrumentation, replaced by screeching vocals and thrashing guitar parts, like the ones found on album opener "Vices." The '80s-tinged "You Stole" and the country-inspired "Be Gone" seem out of place. And "Sink" starts out like signature Brand New before getting bogged down by loud, spastic vocals. But the biggest problem is the lyrics. This band is known for its smart, catchy songwriting, but listening to Daisy is like trying to decipher a foreign language. Half the time, screaming and guitar overwhelm the words; the other half, they just aren't very good. The album does have a few redeeming qualities. The first single, "At the Bottom," sounds like old Brand New but better. The title track is soft and unassuming, with simple yet meaningful lyrics. It's almost worth wading through the eight tracks that precede it. Change can be good, but sometimes it's best to stick with what you know. — Brittany Moseley