Published Jul 04, 2014Seminal '90s Midwest Emo veterans Braid return with the follow-up to 1998's acclaimed album, Frame & Canvas. Though strong in sound and true to their style and form, new album No Coast falls flat on the ears of long time fans. The Illinois quartet continue to play with jagged time signatures and a strong balance between vocals and rhythm section. However, the raw, post-hardcore-tinged edge of 2000's Movie Music, and the urgency in Chris Broach's vocals in pivotal songs like "The New Nathan Detroits," has faded.
Double guitar and back-and-forth vocals between Broach and Bob Nanna have been a staple in Braid's work. No Coast lends most vocal time to Broach, who takes these longer and more technically produced songs to their most melodic edge. Each instrument is given its own time to shine, carefully curated by the band ("No Coast" and "Lux"). Mid-album track "Put Some Wings on that Kid" has a grittier taste that highlights more of the experimental stylings that shaped the Braid's halcyon days. Unfortunately, the band play it safe on No Coast. (Top Shelf)