BRAIDS: Deep In the Iris (Arbutus) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame ImpalaBraids

Deep In the Iris


Apr 24, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

BRAIDS have always felt like the right band at the wrong time. Their first two recordsFlourish // Perish and Native Speaker—are remarkable melanges of twitching experimental pop led by Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s spell-casting intonations. Yet the Canadian trio have never quite managed to convert critical acclaim to mass adulation, partly down to the wealth of contemporaries operating on a similar level.

It’s doubtful album number three will change that status. Deep In the Iris is certainly a radiant, radio-friendly affair, which given the heavy subject matter (with topics ranging from sexual assault to slut shaming) is an impressive feat. Yet these nine cuts-each awash with hexagonal percussion and gnawing electronics-lack the intensity of previous efforts.

It is still a gorgeous record. The synth-stained “Miniskirt” is an atmospheric hook of gyrating keys and transient drum, while Standell-Preston tackles misogyny with breathless venom. “Bunny Rose” is a pinballing whirl that combines Kate Bush-like acrobatics with android effects, while album closer “Warm Like Summer” maintains the futuristic edge with hyperactive twists of piano and relentless drum ‘n’ bass surges.

But the feeling that something’s missing is impossible to shake. Despite the impressive textures of “Taste” or “Letting Go,” there’s a definite sense of autopilot to their execution, leaving the impression that this perkier sonic direction doesn’t quite ring true. By trying to be the band everyone wants them to be, BRAIDS have sacrificed the qualities that made them so captivating. And that is one hell of a shame. (

Author rating: 6/10

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