By: Caroline Newman, Editor-In-Chief
Fans of emo/post-hardcore legends Brand New are no strangers to waiting. The band released their fourth full-length album, Daisy, in 2009 and have been mostly under the radar since then. A handful of singles were released between 2014 and 2016, but besides that, the biggest news to come from frontman Jesse Lacey and the rest of the band was a cassette-tape reissue of some demos that had been leaked during the writing process for 2006’s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (Yes, that’s right. Brand New fans, including myself, forked out money for a CASSETTE TAPE of songs that have been available for free on the internet for ten years).
All that changed on August 6th, when an individual claiming to work alongside the father of guitarist Brian Lane posted on the Brand New subreddit, stating “it has been a damn long time since I posted here but I thought you all should know this. The album is done. Complete. Fin… I was assured the album is done and that it would be released in true Brand New fashion. All of a sudden and soon because, he claimed they had a tour for it all lined up already. To be honest I hope the info is good but I haven’t seen anything in the MerchDirect offices yet so who knows. I hope it’s right.”
Then, on August 15th, the official Brand New twitter account posted a link to a “Very Limited” Vinyl Preorder for an untitled 5th LP. Despite website difficulties, fans flocked to order this mystery album, with no hints as to how many tracks would be on it, what the album would look like, or just how “very limited” it was. Fans began to speculate wildly on Reddit and other forums, while all quietly counting down until October, the album’s advertised shipping date. And then, just when we thought this release couldn’t get any wilder…. It did.
A mere two days after the vinyl preorder, some fans began to receive mysterious cds from Procrastinate! Music Traitors (Brand New’s label). The cds, each labeled out of 500, contained a single, 61-minute track. The track? Brand New’s latest album. Those who were lucky enough to pre-order the album on Tuesday were able to download the twelve-track album.
After eight years, Brand New fans (many of whom are in their mid-30s) were treated to new music. Was it worth it? In my (definitely biased) opinion, yes. The album is perfect. It’s definitely a reflection of what’s been going on in Lacey’s life in the last eight years- getting married, having children, struggling with yourself. It’s a very adult album, very introspective. While past Brand New albums have come off as brash or cocky, Science Fiction is very much an album about reflecting on and accepting your flaws. The tracks are intercut with various spoken interludes ostensibly taken from therapy recordings. Notable tracks include “137,” in which Jesse Lacey revisits his fascination with the atomic bomb, and lead single “Can’t Get It Out,” a frank look at the struggle with mental illness and how it can impact a band’s ability to release new material and connect with their fanbase.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Science Fiction was the number one album on the Billboard 200 chart, which is a monumental achievement for a variety of reasons. This is the first time Brand New has broken the top five slots on the chart, and to do so in what has already been a big year for music is incredibly impressive. Brand New also broke the mold by releasing the album quietly. No social media blackout, no teasers, no cryptic Instagram videos of vipers (lookin’ at you, Taylor Swift). The only announcement they needed was a tweet. The album does all the talking.
10/10 perfect album, don’t @ me.