4 stars out of 5
By Chris Payne
WTSR Music Director
With their fanbase scrutinizing their every move, Brand New’s records tend to be analyzed like crime scene evidence and then abruptly cast off by those yearning for a return to the band’s pop-punk days. “Daisy” sounds like the final nail in the coffin of those dreams. It’s a moody, dissonant collection of post-hardcore and emo genres that sounds as if it was conceived with Modest Mouse records on repeat.
“She tried to put a fire out; she used gasoline,” sings lead singer Jesse Lacey in “Gasoline,” in a half-sung, half-screamed howl that becomes very familiar on “Daisy.” Lacey has been one to wear his lyrical heart on his sleeve ever since he was writing send-offs to cheating girlfriends, and his angst certainly hasn’t worn thin after the better part of a decade.
Key Tracks: “Sink,” “At the Bottom,” “Gasoline”
3 stars out of 5
By Matt Huston
Nation & World Editor
U.K.’s sonic crusaders have made a happy mess, a mashup of the good, the bad and the beautiful.
Muse’s fifth studio album, “The Resistance,” promised to break the band in America once and for all. In the mind of the listener, it has succeeded. Fans conditioned to the band’s infernal edge might have a harder time swallowing the album’s lighter-weight stretches.
“Undisclosed Desires” and “I Belong to You” have a captivating pop about them, but frontman Matt Bellamy’s love and passion isn’t as interesting when it flies unfettered by the shackles of doubt and danger.
“Resistance,” a redreaming of Winston and Julia from George Orwell’s “1984,” makes a much more palatable love claim in the face of inescapable opposition. Tearing out of a bottled, Queen-esque call-and-respond verse, the singer cries through a chorus like the anthem for some gritty road drama. The melody resembles Freddie Mercury, but the vocal abandon is all Bellamy.
Muse typically gets away with such bombastic pieces about love and politics thanks to some measure of deftness or invention.
“United States of Eurasia,” is overblown. Its vague, grandiose political statement falls flat because it lacks realism and believable intensity.
Tougher songs take a killer stab in the same direction. The rough and tumble guitar solo on “Uprising,” and the gunning riffs and fuzzed up vocals on “Unnatural Selection” kick up the sort of refreshing aural dirt we came to expect when Bellamy was singing about crucifying his enemies.
Key Tracks: “Uprising,” Resistance”