Brand New, Science Fiction

Rock band Brand New have recently released their first album since 2009, Science Fiction.

Review by Jane Howkins.

   It’s been eight years since Brand New released their last album, Daisy. Eight long years to be exact, with many fans fearing that the band’s fifth record might never see the light of day. Thankfully those fears have not been realised, and it has finally been released, curiously titled Science Fiction.

   It’s been a long road for fans of Brand New. Over the past few years there have been hints that their fifth album would also be their last, with a break-up predicted to occur in 2018. It actually seems as though this is something that they’ve been predicting ever since their first album, Your Favourite Weapon, came out way back in the year 2001, with a line from Soco Amaretto Lime stating, ‘We’ll be eighteen forever’. It sounds coincidental, but the band got together in 2000, and as most fans will know, there is no such thing as a coincidence with this group.

Just look at the way that Science Fiction was announced. Pre-orders for the vinyl edition of Brand New’s new album suddenly appeared on their website earlier this week, selling out almost instantaneously – which is impressive considering that it’s their first proper album in eight years, and they hadn’t really released any music to accompany the announcement, nor even an album title. Some of the people who had snapped up these vinyl’s (which won’t actually ship until October) randomly received CDs in the post a couple of days after purchase.

These CDs were accompanied by a booklet detailing strange coordinates and quotes from science fiction movies, with the music itself containing one massive 61 minute song (which later turned out to be all the songs on Science Fiction lumped together). Speculation grew that this was the new Brand New album, until digital downloads were spontaneously released online late that evening. For a band that don’t really do interviews or anything of the like, they’re very good at marketing their music, usually with the help of a fan conspiracy or two.

In terms of music, Science Fiction is excellent. Like with the last couple of records they’ve released, it takes a bit of time to get into, but once you do get into it, then you’ll be hooked. It sounds like a mixture of their last three albums, and if this truly is their final album, then at least Brand New have made something to truly be proud of. This is the culmination of their career, and whilst it may sound underwhelming at first (due mostly to the acoustic melodies that seem to be the backbone of the record), these tracks soon start to slip underneath your skin.

This truly is a record for the fans, and there are plenty of things contained within Science Fiction that act as throwbacks to their earlier work. We reckon that we’ll still be finding new things here for years to come, and don’t want to spoil any discoveries for anyone, but die-hard fans will find so much to love here. Some of the lyrics are also particularly poignant, with one special example from Waste alluding to the bands demise: “Don’t lose hope my son. This is the last one.”

Science Fiction is the perfect ending to Brand New’s career, mixing elements together from across their last three albums. The fact that this most likely is their final album is depressing, and that makes it all seem somewhat bittersweet; however they’ve had a magnificent career, and we can’t think of a band that have managed to mature in the way that this group have. The conspiracy theories have already started, and suggestions that another album is still to come are flooding the online world. It’s probably bunkum, but with music this good, we can’t really blame the fans for wanting more. And this is Brand New – anything could happen!

Brand New released the album Science Fiction on 17th August 2017.