The godfathers of emo, Brand New, have released their first album in 8 years. Science Fiction acts as the conclusion to the band’s meaningful career, weaving together elements of familiarity and surprise. The hazy album art reflects the record’s sound: mysterious and poetic.
Beginning of Brand New
Brand New formed in 2000, releasing five albums that would go on to influence an entire generation of music fans. The band’s combination of heartfelt lyrics and avant-garde musicianship connected personally with fans, leading to their loyal following today. Brand New have consistently pushed their limits, letting their sound evolve organically.
The band are well-known for the iconic symbols in their album art. From the lonely astronaut on 2003’s Deja Entendu, to the mysterious fox on 2009’s Daisy, Brand New have made both the music and art work together. Their final effort, Science Fiction, continues the tradition, leaving the world with a haunting soundtrack and imagery.
A Graceful Descent
Science Fiction features an image by Swedish photographer, Thobias Fäldt. The cloudy image depicts two women mid-jump as they descend gracefully from a window above. The photo is a part of Fäldt’s photoset titled, “Smarty Party.” The project showcases “intelligent textiles,” in other words, clothing with a function. This particular photo features Armadillo Scooterwear jackets that stiffen on impact, but on the surface, they look like normal jackets.
Fäldt’s photos were featured in Vice’s fashion issue in 2008. As he told Vice, the clothing may not be the most practical, but they do look cool. While these clothes may look normal, they are fantastic pieces of futuristic technology. This fine line between ordinary and extraordinary is one that Brand New dance on without hesitation.
In the 61 minutes and 22 seconds of Science Fiction, Brand New tackle a long list of topics. The band paint complex emotions and ideas vividly with help from frontman Jesse Lacey‘s lyrical dexterity. Throughout the record, Lacey analyzes his personal relationship with faith and assesses the impact his music has made.
The songs on Science Fiction flow into one another like the veins in the body, their lessons intertwined. These notions of self-doubt and uncertainty show the band are human despite their social status. The pacing and tone of Brand New’s final album hints that they have come to terms with their end.
Brand New’s career was built on appealing to human emotion at a very personal level. Science Fiction captures their essence by compiling some of the most honest and poetic material the band have ever recorded. Fäldt’s photo works as a visual interpretation of the album, reflecting the grace and confidence with which the band move. Brand New’s elegant and poetic descent marks the end of an era for alternative music.
Science Fiction reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling a total of over 58,000 units.