Brand New The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me

Brand New are caught in an interesting dichotomy. The band’s first full-length release, Your Favorite Weapon, was a simple and enjoyable pop punk romp about girls, high school, and girls. The massive departure of Deja Entendu, their sophomore effort, saw the band melding the emotionally mature songwriting of artists such as Elliott Smith with their emo/punk roots, resulting in an album that was championed by an audience far beyond the typical 14-year-old reach of their genre peers. The pressure to follow up with something equally inventive and interesting led the band to The Devil and God, a mixed-bag of lifted New Order riffs, huge choruses, and tales of draining self-destruction. The band really shine during tracks like "Degasser,” whose epic group-chant fires into the minimalist verse out of nowhere and elevates the track to a whole different level; at the same time, the song, like nearly every one on the record, follows the tried-and-true formula of very quiet verse/very big chorus, a structure the band wore out with Deja. Not without its standout moments, the record ultimately doesn’t separate itself enough from the band’s past work, instead playing within the confines of what worked before. (Interscope)