Braids - Native Speaker
Indie rock tragedy #65: when a band ferments in the hype machine so long that the buzz finally requires actual activity, and they fail to live up to the demands of the world that made them. Braids, a much hyped band, will not fall into this trap. Instead they have more than risen to the challenge. Native Speaker sounds like The xx with a mad crush on Tears for Fears and the Gossip all steeped in a rich tea of prairie aesthetic indefinable other than to say…vast. The point of this mixed metaphor is to say simply: Braids are one of the best new bands from our great country.
Native Speaker is a languid, sensual, rapturous collection of the most surprising songs in the last few years. ‘Lemonade’ starts with a low rumble and each new phrase adds a new sonic layer preparing the audience for an multi-dimensional experience. A single listen won’t do Native Speaker justice, nor will a second. It’s an album that requires a week of obsessive listening and the time to languish in a sonic Snuggie before you ever really “get it.” The listening is worth it though; there is pleasure in that quest.
The worst thing about this album is that it is just too short. 7 songs just doesn’t satisfy when Native Speaker is the best 43:47 of the still new 2011 and will no doubt vie for top spots 11 months from now.
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