In the vast world of experimental art rock, it’s understandable to want to categorize artists. Are they minimalist or jarring? Peaceful yet sparse with soft electric beats or do they resonate with a sonic sound that fills the space to the brim?
Canadian shoegaze outfit Braids has previously delivered an expansive and surging sound that teetered on the edge of a style, but the group takes their music down a notch by embracing their more minimalist side on their new album Flourish // Perish.
Now a trio following the departure of keyboardist Katie Lee, Braids leaves behind some the gently active sound found on their debut album, Native Speaker, to embraced a more subdued, calming style that was only hinted at on their previous LP. This altered, meditation-inducing sound feels inherently different, but I predict it will still resonate with fans of Braids’ former work.
Taking an experimental approach to the dream-pop genre, Braids fuses mild electronica with their traditional ethereal melodies on Flourish // Perish. Their nuanced sound, which has calmed down since their desire to bust out with a big “Hello!” on their freshman album, has settled into its place in the continuation of art-rock bands with solid grounding.
Blue Hawaii’s Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s ethereal yet childlike vocals resonate throughout the album. Through even the most upbeat Braids tracks, her melodies are somewhat haunting, an omnipresent fixture throughout the album. From the flow-based tracks (“December”) to their more removed and minimal efforts (“Hossak” and “Ebben”), Braids maintains consistency through the use of keyboard beats and beautiful lyrics.
But Flourish // Perish is not devoid of the old Braids that we fell in love with in 2011. The tracks that best reflect the groups’ original style are their singles (and combined, an earlier 7”) “Amends” and “In Kind.” The songs’ combinations of familiar and original elements help put the album in perspective.
As a whole, Flourish // Perish is an astonishing album. It flows as a collective unit, yet each song has a personality of its own. With Braids’ newfound popularity in the music world, it is remarkable to see how they have continued to experiment and grow while maintaining the sound that made so many fall in love with them in the first place.
Pick up tickets to see Braids perform at Bootleg on October 17th.
Braids Tour Dates
09/05 Berlin, Germany – First We Take Berlin
09/06 Brussels, Belgium – Rotonde
09/07 Milan, Italy – Mito Festival
09/08 Dudingen, Switzerland – Bad Bonn
09/09 Paris, France – Nouveau Casino
09/10 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Muziekgebouw
09/12 Victoria, BC – Rifflandia
09/14 Calgary, AB – Commonwealth
09/15 Edmonton, AB – Pawn Shop
09/16 Saskatoon, SK – Amigo’s
09/17 Winnipeg, MB – Union Sound Hall
09/20 Ottawa, ON – Ritual
09/21 Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
09/26 Burlington, VT – Signal Kitchen
09/27 Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
09/28 Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
10/11 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks *
10/12 Austin, TX – Mohawk *
10/14 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace *
10/15 Phoenix, AZ – Rhythm Room *
10/16 San Diego, CA – Casbah *
10/17 Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Bar *
10/18 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop *
10/21 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge *
10/22 Vancouver, BC – Fortune Sound Club *
10/23 Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern *
10/25 Halifax, NS – Halifax Pop Explosion
10/28 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry *
10/29 Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern *
10/30 Detroit, MI – Loving Touch *
11/01 Toronto, ON – Blk Box *
11/02 Montreal, QC – SAT *
11/03 New York City, NY – Bowery Ballroom *
11/04 Washington, DC – DC9 *
11/06 Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn *
11/07 Talahassee, FL – Club Downunder *
11/08 Gainesville, FL – The Wooly *
11/09 Orlando, FL – The Social *
* with Hundred Waters
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