Braids
Deep In The Iris


3.8
excellent

Review

by DaveyBoy STAFF
April 30th, 2015 | 73 replies


Release Date: 04/28/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Greater accessibility has far from inhibited this strikingly immersive LP.

Braids are most definitely a band that are unwilling to stagnate. On their critically acclaimed debut LP ‘Native Speaker’, the Canadian indie-rockers channelled Bjork and ‘Feels’ era Animal Collective. Two years later, polarizing follow-up ‘Flourish // Perish’ all but ditched guitars, sounding like a mix of Portishead and ‘Kid A’ era Radiohead! And while one could make a case that their third album ‘Deep in the Iris’ splits its two predecessors sonically, that is far too simplistic a view to take of a record that is such a natural progression. One thing that is not up for contention, however, is that ‘Deep in the Iris’ is undoubtedly the Montreal based trio’s most accessible set of songs to date. Gone are the seven to nine minute excursions of ‘Native Speaker’, while the icy electronics of ‘Flourish // Perish’ are also largely absent.

As is often the case when an experimental outfit tightens up their sound, the short-sighted who overly focus on what has been omitted, are potentially missing many other improvements made along the way. Take, for example, the fantastic use of piano spread throughout ‘Deep in the Iris’, which provides a warm backing for Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s always captivating vocals. The graceful songstress has also figured out how best to use that amazing instrument of a voice, enhancing its versatility by finding the perfect middle ground between the erratic yelps of Braids’ debut and the reined-in impenetrability of their follow-up. It all makes for a number of tension building – and releasing – moments, which are effectively accentuated by the electronics and rhythms provided by Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts.

Lyrically, Braids have always been a fascinating band to examine, and any so-called poppier leanings evident here have far from inhibited this attraction. ‘Taste’, which is arguably the most single-worthy tune on the album, is the perfect embodiment of the band’s mantra, with Standell-Preston declaring “We experience the love that we think we deserve and I guess I thought I didn’t need much from this world”, before going on to ask “Take me by the throat, will you push me up against this wall and spit all your hurt on me so I can feel my reach”" Even more powerful is multi-dimensional standout ‘Miniskirt’, where one lyrical nugget follows another as the vocalist takes aim at society’s view of misogyny by comparing terms such as “slut” with “Casanova”: “For us it’s just a stamp to the head, for them another notch in the bed”. ‘Sore Eyes’ later delves into viewing porn with the telling lyric of “Make believe that I am in touch with myself, do the kind of things I watch from someone else”.

As much as Braids are likely to attract some criticism for the direction they’ve chosen to head in, the main deficiencies of ‘Deep in the Iris’ are actually those which have plagued their entire career. With the talent that the trio have at their disposal, ‘Happy When’ and ‘Getting Tired’ suggest that Braids are still not as effective on slower tracks as they should be. When Standell-Preston’s vocal tone remains too consistent throughout a song, tunes tend to fade into the background, a result which is also caused by the (often looped) beats and rhythms - both programmed and organic – containing such subtle variations that they are only apparent upon closer examination. Furthermore, as assured as they are here, one still gets the nagging suspicion that Braids are yet to genuinely find their true sound. And, in a sense, this is what makes them such a fascinating proposition to continue to listen to. In the meantime, ‘Deep in the Iris’ may just be their best and most immersive release yet.

Recommended Tracks: Miniskirt, Taste, Warm Like Summer & Sore Eyes.




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3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

They don't feel like a 'Best Of' band, but the best songs over their career are soooo awesome.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


6676 Comments


wasn't so hot on this album

"Braids are most definitely a band that are unwilling to stagnate."
- kinda klunky imo. you could just say: "Braids are unwilling to stagnate" and you'd get the same effect.

"the short-sighted who overly focus on what has been omitted, are potentially missing many other improvements made along the way."
- comma feels oddly placed.

"from this world", before"
- i know there's probably some different rule where you live, so maybe I'm wrong... but shouldn't commas (and periods) be inside the dialogue/quotation?

- - - - - - -

don't read a ton of your review tbh but i liked this, you focus a lot on comparing to other material from the band which isn't necessarily my cup of tea as it's less likely to attract incoming listeners imo, but you know your stuff


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thanks for the read-through Johnny. I'm also not usually a fan of comparing to a band's other material too much, but I thought it warranted in this case due to the progression that the band has made. Hence that 1st sentence, which reads the way it does, because I think sentence efficiency is important... except when it's the first sentence (ie: I don't like short 1st sentences).



Fair call on the comma. I think I was going back & forth on that one. And yes, there are different quotation rules worldwide. I've always preferred this way of doing it. Without getting into a grammatical debate with anyone, it just makes more logical sense to me. I mean, the comma isn't part of the quote/lyric, so why should it be in the quoatation marks?

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


6676 Comments


true, guess I'm just used to that standard, but if it's a certain way where you live then whatever floats your boat

then again: ...so I can feel my reach”?
^ in this case, wouldn't the question mark belong inside? otherwise, it sounds like you're asking if she stated that thing

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Of course, I do like to make my own grammatical rules up sometimes. They're based on the theory of Davey logic, which rules over hundreds of years of accepted rules & principles.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 29th 2015


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i dunno dude this was really disappointing for me. the first album was amazing and the second was a change in the wrong direction but still a good listen and this is just kind of is a forgettable compromise

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Didn't you have this as a 3.5 on your list Pots?



I think that at the very least this is better than their 2nd. I don't find much forgettable about it at all. That voice... Miniskirt. But - as much as I liked their debut as well - we all should know by now that I tend to like the more accessible indie stuff.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 29th 2015


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did but it kept growing off of my. i liked the dark vibes of the second but still wasnt doing as much for me as Native Speaker. this just seems like them trying to redo Native Speaker style but way more linear and derivative

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I can see why you might think it, but I don't think that they're trying to re-do Native Speaker at all. There are simply far too many differences to the 2 LPs to suggest that.



Yeah, it's more linear than their debut, but 99.95% of albums are. As for being derivative; I guess to some extent you could say that (what album isn't, nowadays?). But accessibility has both its pros & cons.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 30th 2015


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but I don't think that they're trying to re-do Native Speaker at all




sorry, i just meant it seems like they saw that their last album didnt work in the eyes of many a fan and tried to go back to their roots but with a new take and it just came off as a more accessible and (boring) record.



Yeah, it's more linear than their debut, but 99.95% of albums are.




dunno about this



(what album isn't, nowadays?).




dunno about this either



but youre right, accessibility has its pros and cons. mostly cons in the case of this one for me unfortunately. not a single song jumps out at me like several on the debut did. most of the charm is gone too for me :?

wtferrothorn
April 30th 2015


5798 Comments


Reccomended by Reviewer:
Bjork, Radiohead, Kate Bush, Animal Collective, Purity Ring

Excuse me while I jam the fuck out of this.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"tried to go back to their roots but with a new take"

Again, I can see why one would think that, but I disagree. A new take is a new take. Way too different.



From memory, there were only 7 tracks on their debut, so if several songs stood out, no wonder you liked it so much. Oh well, at least you've still rated this a 3, which is "good"



Now that I've built up your expctations wtf, I'll expct you to be disapponted.



Fort23
April 30th 2015


3017 Comments


Ugh Need to get on staff so I can rate things 3.8's and like 2.2's

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2015


17844 Comments


Good review, This looks interesting

Digging: Thom Yorke - Suspiria

Hopelust
April 30th 2015


3233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Makes me want to listen to their past material and compare.

Digging: Sparta - Wiretap Scars

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 30th 2015


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno I personally find them pretty comparable davey

Hopelust
April 30th 2015


3233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just went and bought it on vinyl. sweeeeeet. new music thursday.

DoubtGin
April 30th 2015


6880 Comments


Miniskirt is so good.

danielito19
April 30th 2015


12058 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked the slowdown at the end of Miniskirt and was hoping they would so something cool with that decelerating haze but no it just cut out :/

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2015


22486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"Ugh Need to get on staff so I can rate things 3.8's and like 2.2's"

Sorry Fort, you're no chance with grammar like that.



"Makes me want to listen to their past material and compare".

I totally recommend that, even if your conclusion is similar to LordePots (which will be the majority).



"Miniskirt is so good".

Amen brother.



"I liked the slowdown at the end of Miniskirt and was hoping they would so something cool with that decelerating haze but no it just cut out :/"

I do tthink that they went out of their way to almost put limits on song durations here, with only 2 tracks just crossing the 5 minute barrier. Again, it's a context thing where their debut has to be listened to in order to try to figure out their thought patterns.



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