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You can sin or spend the night all alone
Deja Entendu - Brand New
Member Name: obscuredbykep
Deja Entendu - Brand New
Advantages: Some awesome songs
Disadvantages: A couple of weak 'uns
Having reviewed their third album, I thought it would be time to go back, and visit their second, the French titled "déjà entendu", which translates to "Already Heard". The album was released in 2003, and both musically, and lyrically, is completely different to their debut.
This was the original album I head by Brand New, after being introduced to them with their song "Me vs Maradona vs Elvis". Falling in love with that track, I immediately sought the album, and was hooked on it for weeks.
Opening the album very quietly, Brand New begin with echoes and reverberations in the music, as Jesse Lacey softly whispers the first lines, slow drums come in, and Lacey's voice gains strength but sounds more distant, adding real emotion to the short song. Lyrically, it is only two lines, repeated over and over... It does a very good job setting the mood for the album.
I'm sinking like a stone in the sea,
I'm burning like a bridge for your body
Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades
This was the second first single from the album, the title is taken from Latin "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" which means "Thus passes the glory of the world". The song is about a girl forcing a guy to partake in the act of fornication, and the lyrics are well written to convey this quite well. Musically, it kicks straight in with a heavy bass line, which serves the song very well, the drums are then the main accompaniment to the verses, and no guitars are actually heard until the chorus, which is a quite passionate bout of singing, before sinking back into the verses. It transitions really well, and the way most of the song is sang is really good, using two tracks of Lacey's voice, which sounds like he is responding to himself.. it's hard to explain, you'll just have to listen. The song ends in a scream of "die young and save yourself.."
I will play my Games beneath the Spin Light
To begin with, it is an acoustic track, the guitar gently being strummed while Lacey sings, with the drums coming in twenty seconds in, then it mashes into proper Brand New, the guitars and all, Lacey's voice double-tracked, which sounds ethereal. The songs lyrics seem to tackle the music business, and Lacey's attitude to it, being tired from touring, and the chorus, which speaks of not wanting to sell out. The blending of acoustic and rock works really well, and adds some extra feeling to the song.
Watch me as I cut myself wide open
on this stage. Yes, I am paid to spill my guts
I won't see home till spring
Oh, I would kill for the Atlantic,
but I am paid to make girls panic while I sing
Okay, I believe you but my Tommy Gun don't
Straight in at the end of the previous track, another song with a punchy bass line leading it, with Lacey singing over, his voice, sounds resilient, and a slight echo can be heard behind it, which again adds more feeling to his lyrics. At the end of the first verse, the guitar comes in, and it's a really great riff, which is played sounding almost muted, the faint sounds of the changing chords on the frets can be heard, giving the song a raw sound.
This has always been one of my favourite songs, and is a perfect break-up song, the lyrics carrying meaning, and the music packing passion by the bucket load.
The Quiet Things that No-one Ever Knows
My favourite track, and the first single from the album. Opening with two guitars, and a magical riff that gets stuck deep in your mind, from the first sound of the guitars, you know there is going to be some passion in the song, and passion with a capital P. But the first verse doesn't convey this, it becomes a bit more like the songs on "Your Favourite Weapon", but as soon as it gets to the chorus - the P is back, with the two tracked lyrics, the roaring guitar riff and all the passion you can pack into the 24 seconds you can think of, it then carries the feeling on into the next verses, quite like a calm before the storm, you can feel in the guitar, that there is more coming up, leading to a crescendo of the next chorus.
So keep the blood in your head!
And keep your feet on the ground!
Today's the day it gets tired!
Today's the day we drop down!
Give up my body in bed!
All for an empty hotel!
Wasting words on lowercases and capitals!
The Boy Who Blocked his Own Shot
Another song which begins as an acoustic, but this lasts right up until the end. Lacey's voice, again carrying a soft passion. This was one of my favourite tracks, mainly when I broke up with my girlfriend, which was when I was first getting into Brand New. The song carries a different passion to the previous song, it's soft, gentle, like being defeated, which plays a bit in the lyrics. Toward the middle of the song, the music changes, an extra guitar is added, so it becomes much less acoustic, but the original sound is still there, the effect this has, is like adding an extra dollop of feeling straight into the song.
Lyrically, it covers a break up, while most of it could be able any relationship, it becomes more clear that it's a romantic relationship with the last lines. Lacey is trying to make everything easier on the girl, saying what he'd do to make it easier.
If it makes you less sad,
I'll move out of this state.
You can keep you yourself.
I'll keep out of your way.
Jaws Theme Swimming
Not one of my favourite tracks from the album, it just doesn't deliver the same punch as a lot of the others, and sounds a bit, dare I say it, "samey". It does possess a nice little guitar riff to begin with, which fades into the song to be lost amongst the rest of the music. The lyrics are pretty good, it seems to speak about how things change when you grow up, but in my opinion, the delivery of the track isn't as good as it could have been, leading to a weak song.
Me vs Maradona vs Elvis
The first song I ever heard of Brand New, it still sits up in my favourites. It starts with soft guitar chords, and Jesse Lacey singing so softly over it that you can hear his lips opening and closing. His voice carries some bass to it, which compliments the only musical accompaniment of the guitar. The song succeeds in carrying the most passion from the album, from really strong soft passion in the start, to the capital P passion near the end. With just two minutes to go, the guitars rev up, and it's into the style of Brand New that is known. The guitar strumming has gone, replaced with a gentle riff and roars, a deep bass, and some drums. The small refrain from earlier in the song, that was whimpered, is now bellowed out, completely changing the feeling of it. Soon, the song just fades out...
Lyrically, it directly speaks about getting with a drunken girl. While it is inferred it is taking advantage, there is then the idea that maybe it isn't since it is pretty much what was on her mind all along.
Another great song is in the midst. The music is catchy, quite upbeat, and Lacey's voice, yet again double tracked, cuts above the music perfectly. When you get to the bridge, the music slows, and Lacey's voice calms down, similar to the volume of Me. vs Maradona vs Elvis. Then the chorus hits, and its typical Brand New, with some passion well interjected.
The song is actually about Jesse Lacey's granddad, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, and that when he found out he was miles and miles away, and just wanted to be home with him.
I'm not letting you check out
You will beat this starting now and you will always be around
I'm there to monitor your breathing
I will watch you while you're sleeping
I will keep you safe and sound
Good to know that if I ever need Attention all I have to do is Die
Some weird sounds start this song, like alien spacecrafts... then the guitars and drums enter, a slow, constant beat, with a clever riff, which flows nicely, before Lacey starts singing, then there is just some general chords played in the back, and a very slow, spaced bass line. The chorus takes the pace up a bit, but not as much of a transition as in other songs, and there is not as much passion in the vocals at all. There is a great break down in the middle of the song, which is an amazing combination of guitars, bass and all that jazz, if they made that into a song itself it would be incredible, after another chorus, the song fades out to the same riff...
Play Crack in the Sky
A real acoustic from start to finish. Just Jesse and his guitar. Musically, it is nothing extravagant, simple chords, strummed in good timing which keeps the song flowing well. But where this song really excels, is the emotion in the voice. The lyrics, directly speak of a ship sinking, but as with all Brand New, there tends to be more to the lyrics than first meets the eye, but I still haven't worked out exactly what its suppose to mean. It's a calming song, and with 2 minutes left, the song is multi-tracked, an extra verse embedded behind another, which sounds like music, but you can just follow both lines at the same time, it's really quite intensely packed in.
My Opinion Then
It was the first Brand New album I had ever heard, it was my complete introduction to the band, the album that made me a fan. The album has some real highlights, tracks like "Quiet things.." and "Okay I believe..." are awesome, they carry heaps of passion and feeling, they are well choreographed and just work so well.
Brand New have encompassed two great techniques to enhance there songs, firstly is the multi-tracked vocals. On a number of songs, you can hear that either the main verses are double-tracked, or that there is extra vocals behind the main. It adds so much depth, enhancing the song ten fold. They then have the brilliant ability, to be able to mix different sounds, but keeping them all distinguishable. In some of the chorus' or the breakdown in "Good to know..." you can hear several guitar riffs, bass lines, all held together by a forceful drum beat, and you can listen carefully, and hear each individual piece, perfectly complimenting the others, creating a wall of sound that can just flow over you. It really adds to the passion in the vocals.
On the whole, I don't think this album is as good as there follow up album, 'The Devil and God are Raging inside me", purely because it doesn't contain as consistent a run of great songs, and it isn't the album that is top of my playlists. However some of the songs are the best Brand New have created, they just don't quite pack the same punch, compare for example my favourites from each album - "Quiet Things.." and "Degausser", it would always be the latter I go for, it has so much more feeling behind it, and shows the band have further evolved.
What makes Brand New able to continue so well, is that their sound evolves through the albums, from the punky starts of 'Your Favourite Weapon', to this, and then onto a deeper 'Devil and God..', I just can't wait until the new album is out later in the year!
Do I recommend this? Certainly, it is a good album, much better than many others on the market, but if you had to buy just one Brand New album, then no, this wouldn't be what I'd suggest.
You can pick it up for just £6.99 from www.hmv.co.uk
Summary: You can sin or spend the night all alone