Brand New have made a name for being suspiciously silent over the last few years, since their last album Daisy appeared way back in 2009. Last year’s ‘Mene’ was a welcome surprise, and new single ‘I Am A Nightmare’ comes along with a similar lack of promise of an album. Maybe that’s what the band need; to inject some ‘in the meantime’ songs after their major label success that was heaped on them. ‘I Am A Nightmare’ arrives like a familiar Brand New song if anything, sounding like their trademark emo that has enough punk in it to satisfy anyone turned off by that tag, whilst simultaneously sounding the most like Interpol that they ever have, from Jesse Lacey’s jutting vocals and the sharp, post-punky guitarwork in the verses.
Brand New have always loved incorporating religion into their work, so it’s no surprise that Brand New have done that here as well. Emo can get lumped in with death obsession, but Brand New turn it on its head by wanting to go to heaven, but never suggest dying is the way of getting there. Lacey sings ‘I want to find a way… Do I have to die to see the other side?’. It’s probably the most optimistic way you could say you want to see heaven. Problem with ‘I Am A Nightmare’ is, the instrumental side of the band is more in tune with a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo structure and getting to the end of the track than providing something interesting and memorable. There’s little of the nuance that separated The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, which is a shame.