(Interscope/Tiny Evil)

Brand New 

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me (Interscope)

First impressions can be tough, especially given that a person reportedly forms an opinion within the initial three seconds of meeting someone. That's why it's unfortunate that many potential fans of Brand New, a band that debuted in 2001 with the easily overlooked pop-punk vehicle Your Favorite Weapon, will miss what five years of maturation can do for a constantly evolving band. The Long Island foursome's latest, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, is a giant leap ahead of its work from half a decade ago. In fact, it transcends anything the band's East Coast compatriots Taking Back Sunday ever thought about attempting. Lead singer Jesse Lacey finally seems to have beaten whatever horrible disorder was causing him to channel Morrissey; his a breathy, two-dimensional voice has become a multifaceted instrument. On any given song, Lacey goes from subdued to tortured without ever crossing too far into emo territory. If you gave up on the band a long time ago — or never listened in the first place — now's the time to discover what you've been missing.

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