First impressions can be tough, especially given that we reportedly form an opinion within the initial three seconds of meeting someone. So it's unfortunate that potential fans of Brand New, which debuted in 2001 with the easily overlooked pop-punk vehicle Your Favorite Weapon, may never know what five years of maturation have done for this 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 group's East Coast compatriots Taking Back Sunday ever thought about attempting. Lead singer Jesse Lacey seems to finally have beaten whatever horrible disorder was causing him to channel Morrissey; his breathy, two-dimensional voice has become a multi-faceted instrument. On any given song, Lacey goes from subdued to tortured without ever crossing too far into emo territory. If you gave up on Brand New 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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