July 19, 2011

Seemingly Naive Songs

If there's one band that I can't say enough great things about, it's Braids. This Canadian boy-girl quartet is comprised of friends who started playing together in high school and mutually skipped university to spend time in a garage cementing (and evolving) their sound. Tunes driven by guitars, percussion, synths with plenty of added effects and crescendoing lyrics from lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston. Native Speaker, their debut LP,  is preeetty damn good.

Music journos are comparing them to other bands such as Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene but I would also liken Raphaelle to Emmy The Great for the frank way she sings about sex.

Emmy The Great - We Almost Had A Baby

Lemonade, for instance, sounds like an especially happy track, but on closer inspection her sweet voice masks a darker meaning to the song and it turns out to be a biting indictment of a former lover full of lonely bitterness and disappointment. Elsewhere, the title track feels like smooth, innocent lyrics till one realizes she's really singing 'bout her desire to have men inside of her. These sexual motifs are all over the album's seven tracks. Thus, best be careful when singing those ones out loud to yourself.

For me, the only snag is that sometimes it takes more than a minute and a half to start listening to something tangible, and even when the vocals and instrumentation kick in it takes almost another minute to get going. Due to such languid development, several tracks reach the eight-minute mark when they could have easily fit into six. But, it's ok!

I suspect we're going to be hearing a lot more from them. Be sure to keep your ears peeled!

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