For Fans Of
Braid have toyed with us since reforming a few years ago. A couple of EPs, some milestone live shows, but now it is time to see what they are really capable of delivering. ‘No Coast’ is the band’s first full-length release in sixteen years, re-appearing at a time when the genre they once pioneered is really only good for some nostalgia and has been left a little by the wayside.
To the band’s credit, they stay true to their sound, which was never really replicated (well) during the wave of emo and post-hardcore popularity, more altered. Braid were always a melodic band, but this time they are making this a real feature, possibly to appeal to a wider audience but more than likely due to age. Everyone seems to appreciate a good hook the older we get.
Lyrically, the band begin with a glance back on life since we last really heard from them on ‘East End Hollows’, but equally balance these stark life truths with plenty of metaphors and hidden meanings in the following and title track. ‘Damages’ marks something more angst ridden, both in its guitar playing and its subject matter, as the view is switched to relationship ups and downs, which pretty much sets the tone for the remainder of the record.
Fans will notice the inclusion of the tracks ‘Many Enemies’ and ‘Lux’, which also appeared on the split release with Balance & Composure, and are still two of the highlights. Producer Will Yip has kept things classy. It would be very easy for Braid to just pump out some alternative mainstream rock but Yip removes the sheen. plenty of these songs have those moments and tendencies but there is a gentle balance between rough and smooth in the recording, almost like a garage band with excellent microphones.
With more of a focus on the dual vocal work, and as previously mentioned, a very strong emphasis on melody, ‘No Coast‘ may well be a version of Braid that will appeal to a greater number of people. Strange as plenty of bands sound like this, these guys came first. Whoever wrote this record well after is like some weird chicken or the egg theory.
Considering the amount of time between releases, Braid have essentially picked up where they left off sixteen years ago. While ‘No Coast’ isn’t saving the scene or revolutionising anything, it is a good reminder of the genre’s early days and an entertaining listen.
2. East End Hollows
3. No Coast
5. Many Enemies
6. Pre Evergreen
7. Put Some Wings On That Kid
9. Doing Yourself In
10. Climber New Entry
11. Light Crisis
12. This Is Not A Revolution