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Frontman Jesse Lacey of Brand New uses his guitar the same way Steven Morrissey uses his ever-present aching outstretched arm. They can both grab at the misery of youth and exorcise the pain from young hearts, like an emo-core televangelist. At least that’s what I read on some high school girls’ blog about Brand New. It seems the secret to these guys is that you must be of an age where even the most mundane of romantic human events can turn into a centrifuge of guilt and rage. This has led to career spanning close to a decade and three LP’s and numerous EP’s worth of howling break-up anthems and poignant vitriol. This band has a knack for articulating the moments that some of us spend a lifetime trying to live down. It’s those songs that can lead to cultish sing-a-longs during shows and a list forlorn and faithful friends on Myspace.
Brand New is currently touring behind the very grown-up artistically-challenging The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, that hit stores last fall. That album was the product of three years spent in a creative and personal backwoods that included the deaths of various loved-ones surrounding the band and Lacey’s own health issues. Nowhere is this point driven home more decisively and bitterly with “Jesus Christ”, that can be seen as an open chastisement of Mr. Christ. Older folks may not get the lyrical hand-wringing that’s the raison de scene as of late. The new music is an admirable take on the Radiohead/Muse dynamic that will know doubt keep you listening while your little sister takes as many cell-phone pictures as possible of Lacey and the boys. - Craig Hlavaty
Brand New performs tonight at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel St., 713-225-5483. Kevin Devine•and Manchester Orchestra also perform.