In support of their fourth album Shadow Offering, Canadian art rockers Braids are finally playing at YES, after being forced to postpone the show twice during the pandemic.
Formed in 2006, the Montreal-based band have, over the last decade, proven themselves to be one of the most singular voices in Canada’s indie rock scene. Their first three albums drew on the likes of Bjork, Animal Collective and Radiohead, furrowing complex paths through hybrid genres and soundworlds. 2014’s Flourish/Perish was particularly experimental, unravelling via prog-like arrangements and IDM textures, the disparate threads weaved together via Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s silky and surreal vocals. 2015’s Deep In The Iris was more visceral, driven by skittering jazz percussion and warped synths. It also packed more of an emotional punch, with some lovely piano parts and imagistic lyrics that formed collages of broken relationships.
Album number four, Shadow Offering (2020), feels like a new chapter for the band. Produced by Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, it “finds the trio at their most personal, unabashedly flexing a new sense of confidence through songs that reach a higher level of artistry and collaboration”. ‘Young Buck’, the first single, is an effervescent ode to impossible love. Based around a hook of epic proportions, it’s a playful, electropop banger that finds Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s vocals at their boldest and brightest. Tracks like ‘Eclipse (Ashley)’ and ‘Here 4 U’ are more intricate and exploratory, filled with sprawling vocal melodies, soothing synth arps and grandiose percussion.
It’s a shame that Braids never got to perform Shadow Offering around the time of its release, but the long wait for their show at YES will only serve to make it more special.