Brand New – Science Fiction

Brand New are back with Science Fiction, heavily rumoured to be the band's last, and if that is true they can be proud of the legacy they've left

Album Review by Adam Turner-Heffer | 23 Aug 2017
Album title: Science Fiction
Artist: Brand New
Label: Procrastinate! Music Traitors
Release date: 17 Aug

After eight long years, it seemed like maybe Brand New just weren't coming back. The reaction to their last album – 2009's Daisy – was mixed, given its abrasiveness was about as far away from their earliest pop-punk/emo leanings of their origin as possible. Then again, it also followed 2006's monumental The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, a landmark album that should by all rights have lifted them beyond their humble beginnings.

But earnestness in music isn't always an easy sell, and so Brand New remain largely a cult band focused around late-twenty-somethings who grew up with them through the pop-punk, emo, indie and noise years. Their fifth full-length, Science Fiction, is heavily rumoured to be the band's last, and if that is true they can be proud of the legacy they've left, regardless if they never get acknowledged on a more wide-scale nature. 

This is easily the Long Island band's most mature album, in that it acknowledges and improves on many of the band's past misdemeanours. Sure, there are none of the theatrics of the band's earlier work, though Can't Get It Out stands out immediately as a 'classic' Brand New song, but there are plenty of self-referential moments, either to their back catalogue or to the bands who have influenced them the most. In many places, Brand New prove here that they should ultimately be remembered as the heirs apparent to Modest Mouse, especially on Same Logic / Teeth. 

Elsewhere, the moody 137 feels like one of Kurt Cobain's more restrained moments, Desert has a more classic rock vibe, and 451's Depeche Mode aping feels like the album's only slight misstep. This is instantly rectified, however, by finale Batter Up – a gorgeous and desperately sad swan song to a band who have meant so much to an entire generational subculture. Well, you wouldn't expect any less, right?

Listen to: Can't Get It Out, Batter Up