Braid Closer to Closed

Braid Closer to Closed
Since forming in 1993, no two Braid albums have ever sounded the same. Closer to Closed is no exception. The four-song EP echoes 1998's Frame & Canvas in sound yet carries an element of wisdom, as the band showcase a tamer side that less closely resembles their original post-punk style, replacing it with clear vocals and mid-tempo rock. Gone are any hints of distortion and off-kilter guitar (à la debut Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five) and instead, the tunes feel like a b-side continuation to their later, more formulaically structured material. Opener "The Right Time" features only Chris Broach on vocals, with Bob Nanna handling the latter three numbers. "You Are the Reason" is a beautiful cover of the Jeff Hanson song and the best track on the EP. Closer "Universe or Worse" begins and ends with drum riffs that envelop a lilting start-stop guitar hook accentuated by Nanna's signature croon. It would be unfair to say that Closer to Closed strays from the band's form, yet the truest of Braid fans may find that their first effort in ten years leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but bodes well on its own. (Polyvinyl)