Braids Flourish // Perish

Braids Flourish // Perish
8
Get Braids drummer Austin Tufts going on about the sound of Flourish//Perish and you'll struggle to stop him: "beautiful" and "intimate" crop up frequently — unsurprising, given the synthetic sheen that characterizes Braids 2.0 — while adjectives like "sloshy" and "enveloping" make quirky appearances. Another neat descriptor would be "biorhythmic," as songs like "December" and "Hossak" explore Western frustration in the language of natural cycles, their synth-led momentum emulating rainfall, rapids and beating wings. If it seems a far cry from the band's Polaris-nominated debut, Native Speaker, close listeners will notice an electronic influence buried in that record's insular, arpeggiated guitars. Flourish//Perish, though, is an altogether vaster thing, resplendent in synths that pulsate and lash like nervous oceans. Due to the record being constructed on Ableton, no part is wasted. On "Juniper," angelic harmonies intertwine with sparse drum snaps and dissipating synth panels, while repeat listens to "Together," which is so pristine and dense that light seems to ping off its veneer, reveal subliminal groans like the sullen echo of long-extinct sea-life. Raph's lyrics, meanwhile, dig beneath melancholia and insecurity to unearth beauty in the small victories of self-discovery. (Flemish Eye)