Written By:Aidan Williamson
14th September 2009 at 00:29 GMT
Nationalism is held by some to be an almost dogmatic ideal, yet to others it is seen as a scourge of the modern world. A major blockade to that final goal wished for at every beauty contest on this Earth: world peace.
The simple fact is, people feel comfortable, even proud of the things within their boundaries; they elicit pride from the things they can call their own. Internal challenges can be coped with, for they present nothing new, only variations on familiar obstacles. Give them a threat from beyond these borders though, and sometimes it can prove too much, too stressful and too demanding.
The same could be said of art. Everyone has their own comfort zone. Show a man whose tastes involve classical realism (pretty pictures of landscapes, fruit et al) something conceptual and he’ll struggle to discern its meaning. While most are happy to be challenged - their ideals questioned - through the medium of artistic expression, this is often only as far as the Gaza Strip as it were. Challenges from the middle-ground are welcome, challenges from Israel or Palestine (depending on which country you envision yourself being in) are not welcome.
Your personal boundaries will likely have a major bearing on your appreciation of Daisy. If you are amongst the throngs who proudly declare Brand New’s début as Deja Etendu (we’ve met such ones), then you’ve likely approached the band appreciating their emotive insight into the human condition via earnest and shifting acoustic rhythms.
After 85 seconds of the album, you may well be issuing a brown alert.
Daisy - for all intents and purposes - seems to be a squarely aimed “screw you” to the fans. It’s a snapshot of a band who simply don’t care anymore as to what their fans think of them. So shocked were some “fans” by their early exposure to leaked tracks (especially the album opener “Vices”) that they proclaimed the ‘leak’ to be nothing more than a prank. They simply could not reconcile what they were hearing with the tortured, yet elegant yearnings to which they’d grown accustomed.
The album, to put it bluntly, is a mess. Usually serene passage are splattered with noise and discordant solos. Lyrics are drenched in obscure references and cryptic metaphors. Vocals shift relentlessly from country, through to indie, through to pop, through to the sound of men being eaten alive by hordes of crocodiles. There is something to offend everybody here.
Operatic gramophone recordings stand by to fill the periphery, waiting for silent moments to step forward and be counted. Melodies are discarded without reason, replaced by outbursts of screamed anguish. If ever there was a snapshot of a band on the edge, this is it.
Did you enjoy the insightful laments of front-man Jesse Lacey on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me? Then we’re sorry, he’s handed over the pen to guitarist Vincent Accardi. Did you enjoy the short and restrained outburst of anger which convinced you that you enjoyed an ‘eclectic’ array of musical influences? Then we’re sorry, restrained is not the watchword tonight. There will be no dinner party where this is appropriate, no revision session where this aids concentration, the anger is brutal, thoughtless, inconsiderate and loud. Get used to it!
Do you still think it’s cute to yell for “Seventy Times Seven” at concerts? Then bad luck to you also. The remnants of pop-punk have been dissipated, done away with in favour of an edgier, less socially-acceptable form of expression.
So enjoy these forty minutes of raw, unrelenting exhalations. Enjoy the extra thought cycle, the hesitation, every time you debate whether or not to press the play button when with company, enjoy what could be one band’s middle finger aimed squarely at you as they bury their meaning and their intent from you. Enjoy spending long hours deciphering the true nature of the “forest” references which abound throughout Daisy.
It could be one long resignation letter to the world or it could be innumerable other possibilities. What it is, is a band, stood on the edge, yelling to you, “where are your boundaries?”