Brand New releases ‘Leaked Demos’

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Need they be introduced? Brand New has become a staple of modern alternative and indie rock music.

With each album, the band has been notorious for reinventing themselves while keeping the same quality of excellent musicianship, further darkening lyricism and a sense of secrecy about what the band is up to (or not up to, for that matter).

2006’s “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me” (TDAG) is arguably the band’s magnum opus, while 2009’s “Daisy” polarized audiences everywhere. But love it or hate it, they still got your attention.

And maybe that’s why nine of the demos that were supposed make up the original “Devil and God” leaked in January of ’06.

Since then, the band has released statements regarding the leak and the effect it had on the album.

While Garret Tierney felt cautiously optimistic about the interest still being taken in the band’s whereabouts, Jesse Lacey felt violated as an artist and stated the album would feel incomplete without those songs.

In the end, fans got two sets of songs, with the official album arguably going on to be a defining moment in their career. But what would be different had these songs never leaked?

Would Brand New have seen the same amount of success, and would this lost album have fared better or worse than the final product?

We may never know, but now that the demos are being remastered and officially released nine years later, we can still catch a glimpse of what “The Devil and God” was intended to be.

Several of these songs (“Luca,” “Yeah,” “Battalions”) went on to make an appearance on TDAG, albeit in different forms, while the breathtaking, piano-heavy “Fork and Knife” even went on to become a popular B-side and single that saw official release.

“1996” is as experimental as anything we’ve heard from the band, but probably not in the sense you’re used to.

It’s more of an interesting take on storytelling and a straightforward homage to Morrissey and The Smiths, as they’re a well-known influence on the band.

Opening track “A Good Man,” is far from anything you’ve heard from the band before, and it’s really a shame. Musically, these demos vary much more than the actual album, which has a specific and cohesive vibe to it.

“A Good Man” is a short, reflective acoustic number filled with beautiful lyricism. “Something dies when you grow older, but you do the best you can,” Lacey croons while accepting the loss of young love.

Among these songs are some of the best the band has ever penned — specifically, “Nobody Moves” and “Missing You.”

“Nobody Moves” is a seven-minute masterpiece featuring the dark guitar work we’ve come to love from Vin Accardi, subduing the song’s verses to a quiet and intriguing pace.

A haunting pre-chorus of “Tear you up/Take what you love/ And burn it down, burn it down,” plays before erupting into a brooding chorus, all building toward the song’s downright menacing guitar-solo.

Elsewhere, “Allow Me to Admit” could easily have fit on 2003’s “Deja Entendu,” beginning with curious electronic instrumentation before bursting into one of catchiest (and most meaningful) choruses Brand New has ever written: “Until I awake, we just hope that you’ve made it/We hope that you’re celebrating with people you’ve missed/And burning like a beacon, guiding our ship around this hellish shoal/I’m happy to admit that maybe I am a little depressed/’Cause I’m missing you to death.”

It’s a perfect combination of heavy lyricism — not to mention a great line about Van Gogh’s ear — and upbeat musicianship, which makes for an excellently executed bridge and outro.

So, where does this leave us? I would urge you to look into purchasing this cassette, should the band press a second batch.

These songs are not necessarily better or worse than “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me,” they’re different, and they escape the novelty of simply being an enticing look back on what that record could have been had the circumstances been different.

Chances are that either way, the band would have penned another low-key classic that went on to be dissected for six years as we continue to await the band’s swan song.

You may now resume your regular speculation.

 

 

AARON MOOK

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