Album Review: Native Speaker by Braids
Seeing Braids was one of my highlights of CMJ last year. They played the M for Montreal showcase at Arlene’s Grocery, along with fellow Canadians the Luyas and P.S. I Love You, all of whom seem to be enjoying the spotlight. P.S. I Love You released their debut album at the end of last year and now Braids has released their debut at the beginning of this year.
Braids consists of Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Katie Lee, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith who have been playing and creating music together since high school. Guitarist Standell-Preston takes care of lead vocals and her voice is pretty astounding. The range of notes she can successfully register is extremely impressive and the band often uses her vocals, as well as keyboardist Katies Lee’s, as instruments in themselves. There is no doubt that this is a group of extremely talented and well-trained musicians, but they certainly do not play by the book.
Native Speaker begins with a slow build, but by the time you are midway through the first song “Lemonade” you find yourself tapping your toes while simultaneously envisioning yourself swimming in a lake of colors. What I mean to say is, this is shoegaze music with a beat to it. Some songs are certainly more upbeat than others, and you can definitely space out to this album if you want. But if you pay attention you will catch wondrous nuances and surprising layers, all frosted with a layer of Standell-Preston’s glorious voice.
Native Speaker heralds a promising start for this young band and I for one see great things in their future–this album hasn’t been compared to early Arcade Fire for nothing. Braids are currently on tour with Baths (another young wonder with a great debut album recently released) and Asobi Seksu. Click below for remaining dates.
Feb 19 EL MOCAMBO w/ Baths, Star Slinger Toronto, ON, CANADA
Feb 21 SKULLY’S MUSIC DINER w/ Baths, Star Slinger Columbus, OH
Feb 22 THE CANOPY w/ Baths, Star Slinger Urbana, IL
Feb 23 GABE’S w/ Baths, Star Slinger Iowa City, IA
Feb 25 DER RATHSKELLAR AT UNIVERSITY w/ Baths, Star Slinger Madison, WI
Feb 26 SUBTERRANEAN w/ Baths, Star Slinger Chicago, IL
Mar 1 CHOP SUEY w/ Baths, Star Slinger Seattle, WA
Mar 2 HOLOCENE w/ Baths, Star Slinger Portland, OR
Mar 3 THE JAMBALAYA w/ Baths, Star Slinger Arcata, CA
Mar 4 RICKSHAW STOP w/ Baths, Star Slinger San Francisco, CA
Mar 5 TROUBADOUR w/ Baths, Star Slinger Los Angeles, CA
Mar 10 DETROIT BAR w/ Asobi Seksu Costa Mesa, CA
Mar 11 CASBAH w/ Asobi Seksu San Diego, CA
Mar 12 NEON REVERB FESTIVAL w/ Asobi Seksu Las Vegas, NV
Mar 13 Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ