Native Speaker by Braids on Apple Music

9 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

This Montreal-by-way-of-Calgary quartet makes music not quite like anything currently on the indie pop horizon (though Warpaint and Toro y Moi simmering in a slow cooker comes to mind). Intriguing contradictions abound: the music is intimate yet gurgles with electronic blips and at times exudes an austere spareness. Some tracks have delicate, gauzy trappings, while wild-girl lyrics belie lead vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s doe-eyed aura. “Lemonade” opens with a mesmerizing sound montage that includes something akin to a babbling brook, the call of a conch shell, and Philip Glass–like keyboard patterns. Multilayered vocals and echoey atmospherics at first provide a canvass, then morph into a powerful surge with Standell-Preston’s voice circling like a dervish. You won’t find traditional song structures and easy melodies here, yet the pulsing tones, sound effects, loops, and instrumental voices never sound so far from the pop realm that they become something else. Quite an impressive debut from a bunch of kids who can’t yet buy beer in the U.S. of A.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This Montreal-by-way-of-Calgary quartet makes music not quite like anything currently on the indie pop horizon (though Warpaint and Toro y Moi simmering in a slow cooker comes to mind). Intriguing contradictions abound: the music is intimate yet gurgles with electronic blips and at times exudes an austere spareness. Some tracks have delicate, gauzy trappings, while wild-girl lyrics belie lead vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s doe-eyed aura. “Lemonade” opens with a mesmerizing sound montage that includes something akin to a babbling brook, the call of a conch shell, and Philip Glass–like keyboard patterns. Multilayered vocals and echoey atmospherics at first provide a canvass, then morph into a powerful surge with Standell-Preston’s voice circling like a dervish. You won’t find traditional song structures and easy melodies here, yet the pulsing tones, sound effects, loops, and instrumental voices never sound so far from the pop realm that they become something else. Quite an impressive debut from a bunch of kids who can’t yet buy beer in the U.S. of A.

TITLE TIME
6:46
4:25
8:09
8:24
4:35
7:01
4:27
5:45
6:34

About Braids

Canadian indie rock/shoegaze ensemble Braids made noisy, somewhat experimental pop that owed a heavy debt to various shoegaze bands of the '90s. Featuring the talents of keyboardist Raphaelle Standell-Preston, guitarist Katie Lee, guitarist Taylor Smith, and drummer Austin Tufts, Braids originally started out as the Calgary-based band the Neighborhood Council. The four-piece released an EP before relocating to Montreal and changing its name. Braids released their debut full-length album, Native Speaker, in early 2011. Later that year, the album was shortlisted for a Polaris Music Award. After contributing to the band's second album, Flourish//Perish, Lee left the group. In June 2013, the In Kind//Amends EP offered the first taste of Braids' more streamlined, electronic-based sound. For 2015's Deep in the Iris, the group recorded in Vermont, upstate New York, and the mountains of Arizona, opting for a more organic sound that highlighted Standell-Preston's vulnerable songwriting. The following year's fittingly named Companion EP, which featured songs written during the Deep in the Iris era, continued in this direction. ~ Matt Collar

  • ORIGIN
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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