With 2007's RIOT!, Paramore proved that pop hooks and a killer set of pipes can still vault a band to platinum status, economic downturn be damned. Success comes with a price, though, and Paramore struggled as media outlets reserved most of their coverage for Hayley Williams, deemed by many to be the group's leader. Released in late 2009, BRAND NEW EYES presents Paramore as a stronger, leaner, and altogether more consistent band. "Careful" and "Ignorance" are two of the group's most aggressive tunes to date, and the rest of the disc follows suit, with the guitar interplay of Josh Farro and Taylor York (who makes his studio debut here, having joined the lineup after RIOT! was recorded) receiving much of the spotlight. Drummer Zac Farro anchors the band with a flurry of snare hits and cymbal crashes, but the true MVP is Miss Williams, who sings with all the gusto of an angsty, 21st century Ann Wilson. She's fun, fiery, and altogether fantastic, a pint-sized powerhouse who attacks everyone from holier-than-thou naysayers ("Playing God") to ego-centric space cadets ("Brick By Boring Brick"). BRAND NEW EYES is the band's most credible album to date, a blend of melody and muscle that packs a punch in spite of its tumultuous origin.
Spin (p.76) - "Williams howls like she's spent her 20 years on Earth internalizing old Judas Priest records....Her fresh-faced bandmates don't leave her hanging, either, attacking their spring-loaded pop punk with the unbridled enthusiasm of DIY diehards."
Spin (p.30) - Ranked #20 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2009" -- "[J]umpy pop-punk jams with hooks as sharp as a TWILIGHTER's teeth."
Alternative Press (p.111) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "EYES astonishes from start to finish, with the bouncy confessional 'Looking Up' and the immensely powerful closing track 'All I Wanted' showing up as diamonds..."
Billboard (p.36) - "[T]he band has finally redefined its sound -- a blend of fast-paced rock and upbeat picture-perfect pop with both styles buoyed by monster singalong choruses."
Q (Magazine) (p.111) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[W]hen Paramore really put their foot down -- as on spiky single 'Ignorance' or 'Looking Up' -- you can't help but be swept along."