Brand New are like the kids who think they’re special because they’ve seen all the hip movies or own all the hip vinyl before anyone else, but who haven’t actually produced anything themselves. Of course, Brand New have produced their own record and while there’s little originality there is enough variation to make Your Favorite Weapon entertaining. Luckily the band is so clueless that they are far more endearing than obnoxious.
Brand New, the high school hopefuls destined to turn into pretentious English Literature majors at university, exhibit a heart-on-the-sleeves style that works. Take the song “Mix Tape”, on which vocalist Jesse Lacey admonishes some girl (all the songs are about or to girls) for “the way you criticize Morrissey and the Smiths” over a track that sounds like the Cure crossed with Bon Jovi. Lacey is dishing out the insults because he discovered a band before his ex; sure it’s childish and silly, but at the same time, isn’t that how we’ve all felt at some time? The clincher comes when he continues to chide for “the way you don’t appreciate Brand New” — which sums up the immature brilliance of Brand New. Forget the girl’s music taste; the heart of the matter is that she doesn’t like Lacey’s band. It’s the sentiment that the Descendents made into an art form
Brand New’s take on heartbreak is best exemplified by the borderline brilliant lyrics of “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad”. How can you not love a song that begins with “I hope the next boy that you kiss has something terribly contagious on his lips”? Directly addressing the breaker of young hearts, the song features the insanely catchy chorus, “Tell all the English boys you meet about the American boy back in the states, the American boy you used to date, who would do anything you say”. The direct manner in which the band describes the way their hearts were broken visits a place that is practically a rite of passage for any teenager. It’s the tale of the good guy left behind, the hometown hero who can’t measure up to the suave foreigners, that always makes for a good teen movie.
While those two tracks are the stand outs, the rest of Your Favorite Weapon holds its own when compared to most albums of its ilk. Although lacking in original music ideas, they’re witty and honest in their portrayals of growing up in suburban America. Perhaps they are most like the Descendents, who were the champions of the geeky guy getting sand thrown in his face at the beach, and who then wrote great songs about it. If you can get past the slightly generic guitar riffs, Brand New are worth your time.