Canadian experimental pop / art rock shoe gazers Braids release their fifth album `Euphoric Recall` this month, near enough three years and a week on from their last long player `Shadow offering`.
`Supernova` runs at around eight minutes in length and kind of lays a marker down that the band are creating an album that they feel they want to make rather than what people would expect them to produce. I have to admit I’m not overly familiar with the band`s body of work, so came to this release with no preconceived ideas as to what to expect. It opens with a fairly eclectic aural soundscape underpinning a dreamy come ethereal vocal sprinkled atop with orchestrated strings as this journey unfolds. The number meanders along with the vocal at times being given space really to glisten with minimal musical backing. The song itself seems lyrically to be a declaration of one persons` love for another, indeed the album, I read, has love at the heart of its subject matter. At times there`s an almost overwhelming passion and deep emotion in Raphaelle`s vocal delivery. A supernova is a kind of explosion of a star so maybe the title is a metaphor for the love related in this number. I thought `Apple` was the perfect foil after the intensity of the previous track as it`s a much more aligned electro pop offering which again has a mesmerising string arrangement interspersed throughout its lifecycle.
`Evolution` is a faster paced declaration of love shared over a rolling percussive synth and recurring drum machine beat. We again have orchestrated strings layered over a quietly shared beat on `Left_Right` which is another testimony of enduring admiration initially but seems to change tack lyrically as the number progresses and becomes almost verbally antagonistic before ending abruptly. At times, the lyrics almost felt like a stream of conciseness.
`Millennia` is a fairly expansive nigh on cinematic composition where the narrator declares their almost undying adoration for their partner during this ruminative deliberation. There`s a slight edginess about `Lucky Star` which may well reflect the shared lyrical content of somebody yearning to return to a relationship that seems to have run its course. There`s a melancholic air about the obsessive longing which is mirrored in the music shared.
`Retriever` is another lengthy piece that begins with a fairly rhythmic beat and vocals dusted atop. and builds musically and audibly as the track grows. There`s a time out around the midway mark as a synthesised section lays a foundation for a mesmerising vocal passage as the synth takes over in an almost spiritual supremacy before leading us out and bleeding into the next composition. Title track `Euphoric Recall` is also the closing submission of this release and has a celestial come cosmic energy about it. It felt to me as if it were a coming together or blending of all the previous songs shared throughout this production, a kind of reinforcement of what had previously been experienced.
The trio of Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith who make up Braids have created an album that has at times an aching intensity and will offer more to the listener each time you return to it. If you have records from bands such as Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Cranes and Mazzy Star in your collection, Braids new offering `Euphoric Recall` will be a welcome addition.
Rating 8.5 /10