Deja Entendu – Brand New (2003)

Album artwork for Deja Entendu

Album artwork for Deja Entendu

Despite the increasingly rapid development of digital audio technology and electronic music production, the classic punk rock band setup will always hold an irreplaceable spot in the hearts of youth across the globe.  Part of what makes the genre so unique is the sheer amount of passion and aggression that goes into the physical performance of the songs. Imagine the scene in your head: a small, dimly lit venue, packed to the brink with skaters and social rejects.  At the center is a stage, with the band pouring out their heart and soul into the music they’re making, complete with stage jumps, power slides, and ferocious gang vocals. The entire crowd is headbanging, screaming the lyrics, and dancing to the beat.  This is a group of people that has been united through music, breaking down any and all social barriers.  This style of music might not be for everyone, but the amount of energy that is poured into the art is undeniable.

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Brand New takes this scene to an entirely new level.  Their music is not just aggressive and energetic; it is masterfully crafted.  Just as “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” will get the whole audience on its feet, “The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot” provides the perfect backdrop to showcase the melodic and deeply emotional lyricism of the group. Contrary to the popular music of the time (and which continues to this day), Deja Entendu is a prime example of easily accessible music that doesn’t become caught up with commercial appeal and recycled emotional content.

The band shows a remarkable sense of versatility throughout the album.  Each song is propelled forward by a unique distribution of riffs and instrumentation.  The first song that you hear is “Tautou,” an slowly developing intro that conveys a post-rock vibe.  It then cycles through several songs like “Jaws Theme Swimming,” which amp up the intensity with steadfast guitar strumming, audacious vocal belting, and catchy melodies.  Finally, after a 45-minute journey, the record concludes with a soft acoustic ballad, “Play Crack the Sky.”

With Deja Entendu, Brand New has clearly presented a strong effort of modern musicality. Although it originally appealed mostly to a certain cultural scene, the enjoyment it bestows is by no means limited to such a specific demographic.  This is the music of passionate individuals, of idealists, and of music lovers from all walks of life.

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