The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

Posting the rambling comment on Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies: Record Club #2 -- Brand New over here:

Late to the party. Was really looking fwd to this discussion, but then of course I forgot all about it! Reading thru and listening again, the following thoughts occurred:

I hear a lot of Mogwai-type post-rock on this album... which I think is great. The biggest problem I have with the genre is its grandiose portent and its lack of personality. Lacey's whispered confessionals and strained screaming solve those problems -- there's a confused guy at the centre of all the winding / crashing guitars. Brand New can hypnotize and pulverize just like Explosions In The Sky, but they've got heart as well. This might be why I'm not such a huge fan of 'Welcome To Bangkok' or 'Untitled'... they skip what's so engaging about the band. They aren't particularly interesting post-rock pieces, either. Quite simple arrangements...

I initially hated the soft crooning switch to shouting, because it sounded really wrong -- how would you produce such extreme dynamics live? But then I realized that it's actually a really cool effect. It internalizes the songs, makes them about the sounds in your skull rather than the sounds at a show.

As for the lyrics... some of the clunky lines grated at first. But I got over that. I think too many people are scared of being earnest, and I admire the way Lacey has the guts to put himself out there (as has been pointed out above, his ambivalence about this is a key part of what makes Deja Entendu so interesting). Actually, I think his conviction and his voice can redeem a bad line quite well! Plus, there are enough gems on the album to make the work of unravelling meaning rewarding.

The obscured lyrics are a boon in this task. The effect is a bit like what Grouper gets up to. Suggestions of words shrouded by the music -- songs that become more about mood than message. Also, it might be a way to avoid the teenage spokesman role Lacey's so uncomfortable with.

'Handcuffs' is a bit too arch for me. The darkness becomes comical. Also dislike 'Limousine', which is too stretched out, the repeating line at the end just becomes annoying (didn't know about the story behind the song, but it doesn't really make it more interesting for me). 'Millstone', 'Jesus', 'Know' and 'Archers' are all amazing tho. I think Deja Entendu is superior, but Devil and God is a great step forward. Daisy was awful, tho...

No comments:

Post a Comment