ALBUM REVIEW – “No Coast” by Braid

     No Coast should not be an important album, it should be classified as a lame return of a collection of dusty musicians attempting to rekindle their old creative flames. This could not be a more inaccurate description of Braid’s latest effort. No Coast is equal parts punchy, emotive, fun, dynamic and highly original emo music. There’s no sign of old age whatsoever. It really sounds like the band went into hibernation for a decade-and-a-half and came out with this record in hand.

Somehow the band manages to put all of their best faces forward. The level of inherent detail is almost entirely readily accessible even upon casual listen. Whether it’s the airtight production (aptly handled by Will Yip) or the underlying musical composition-probably a combination-the result is a record that is easy on both the virgin ear and the die hard fan.

     No Coast is light on the bombast musically, but lyrically there’s a total contrast. The bouncy emo pop chords lay underneath talk of regret, love/loss and various other somewhat depressing topics. It goes without saying that this sort of maneuver is common within the genre, but the expertise that Braid bring to their execution is unparalleled. Whatever genre tropes pop up-and they do-are obviously inherent aspects of the band’s sound, rather than something the band falls back on. This is basically expected considering how vital Braid was to the popularization of their genre in the 90’s, it is still impressive nonetheless.

So many factors are at play on this record, between the sheer age (wisdom?) of the band members, the sheer age of the genre even, the supposed “emo revival”, and countless others, and Braid play on each to their advantage. No Coast reeks of enthusiasm and competence, not a single song drags along or loses focus to any degree. It is simply incredible that a band as crucial to their genre’s existence as Braid could go on hiatus for 16 years (how many bands can even say they’ve existed for 16 years?) and come back and create a record that sounds both timeless and current.  Hopefully it’s no flash in the pan.

9/10

Max Robison

 

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